The Late Gary Steele MBE (Founder and Chairman to May 2017)
Sad news reached the group that Gary Steele died in St. Luke's Hospice, Winsford on Friday 24th November 2017.
David Laundon, who took over from Gary at this year's AGM, issued the following statement on behalf of the Group.
'I have to inform you of the sad news that Gary Steele passed away this morning in St Luke’s Hospice in Winsford. He had been there for only the last 2 weeks after the local hospital had informed him that his cancer was still spreading and his treatment options were at an end. Gary was initially diagnosed around 2000 and has been living with and fighting his prostate cancer bravely ever since. He worked tirelessly to setup and develop the work of the Leighton Hospital Prostate Cancer Support Group and only stood down in May this year, when he felt that his health was continuing to deteriorate. Gary’s work, through the Group, has touched thousands of people’s lives. He was so well respected and I am sure that he will be missed by all of you who have come into contact with him over the years.'
Gary was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 1999 and his experiences following diagnosis led him to start a support and awareness group. He was said to be a one-man crusade promoting awareness of Prostate Cancer throughout Staffordshire, Cheshire the North West and beyond.
Gary devoted a huge amount of time and energy talking to men, travelling around the country, setting up temporary Drop-In centres at supermarkets, shopping precincts etc., as well as talking at Working Men’s Clubs, Probus, Freemasons & Rotary Clubs. In addition to this he went to companies and anywhere else he was invited to promote awareness of Prostate Cancer.
He initiated the Group's PSA testing sessions, thanks to which, to date, over 6,000 men had been tested, and many confirmed cancers identified, enabling treatment and/or active surveillance to those diagnosed followed.
He was the main fundraiser for the Group, having single-handedly raised over £600,000 for vital equipment, research, staff specialist cancer training and promoting awareness. He arranged functions, special nights, Big Band concerts, 60’s Nights and Fashion Shows.
Together with Mr Pradip Javle, the consultant Urological Surgeon who treated Gary, he competed in the BUPA Great North Run raising over £8,000 for research and equipment for the care and comfort of patients admitted to Leighton Hospital when diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.
Gary was a Trustee of the Prostate Cancer Federation "Tackle" and Vice Chairman of Prostate Cancer Support North-West. He was the first response for medical advice on the Prostate Cancer Support National Help-Line and helped to compile a register of men willing to talk to newly diagnosed patients and their families regarding treatment, care, and living with cancer.
He appeared on national and local TV and local radio phone-ins and did whatever he could to promote awareness of this most common Cancer in men. Gary was awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honour's List in 2012 for his sterling work.
Gary initiated the sponsorship of local junior football and cricket teams who promote the "Save A Dad" campaign and also set up the Group's association with the Medical Detection Dogs' trials to “sniff-out” Prostate Cancer.
He also set up sponsorship of the sporting curriculum at Sir William Stanier School in Crewe, which we believe to be the first of its kind in the UK.