Monday, 29 August 2011

Dear everyone...I've taken the plunge and now I'm on Twitter. Follow me at @cumbriadan

Sunday, 28 August 2011

This Blog is over a year old now, over 120,000 words written and 20,000 hits from all over the World. I have to ask, what do I do with it now?

When I first started, it was a 'lifline' to me, a place that I could go at the end of each day to release my feelings. At that time, I thought I was dying and wanted to leave a little bit about myself for those closest to me. (it taught me who was!) I can look back and laugh about that now, but it was true!

The Blog then became something that many followed who were in a similar position to me, but several months behind, so that they could get an idea of what was going to happen to them. It features on many charity websites still and people still make contact with me, especially when they are first diagnosed.

Evolving again, it became a 'campaining tool' when the NHS decided that they wanted to shut me up, and as a result we have have made vast improvements at our local hospital. During that time, the publicity created via national press and television, raised awareness of Prostate Cancer throughout the UK.

Is it something that should now die a natural death, giving it all a rest while I carry on with my degree for another 2 years?

I know that I need a break from 'cancer', it has taken over my life for the past year and now that I'm possibly cured, should I just do a big 'THE END' sign and close the door on it all?

Is there anyone out there still listening? Well, apart from the NHS monitor team :-)

Below are some photos on location with the BBC's 'The One Show'. What a beautiful day with such fantastically great people; an experience that I will never forget!

Liz (Producer) Colin (Cameraman)

Ullswater from Martindale


Liz, Joe (Presenter) & Colin

Me with the Camera of my dreams!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

I have been away on holiday, camping in Cornwall and Devon, what glorious places. The Moors, the coastline, the tourists and the constant drizzle of rain :-) Oh I loved it!

I have now exchanged several letters with the Trust over the past 2 weeks, I was going to put the correspondence all here on the Blog, but should I? You know when the Prime Minister is asked a question in the House, and a simple 'yes' or 'no' would do? Well you can guess what the replies are like.

I tried to put all of my questions in a very simple manner, often requiring a 'yes' or 'no' answer, but the replies often went into so much detail that by the time I had finished reading one, I'd forgotten the question I had asked!

We achieved about 85% of what we wanted up to the point of the protest anyway, and I suppose that went to 95% after the exchange of the recent letters.

The Trust have apologised in private to me but are completely unwilling to give a public apology. You would expect that, wouldn't you? Arrogance is a hard thing to kick off when you've had it for so long.

What now? We must continue to monitor OUR hospital in every possible way. The people who run it now still truly believe that it is THEIR hospital, and that we the patients are just an inconvenience that they have to put up with.

Along with my many followers, I will be watching and waiting to help others who might have problems at this and other hospitals. Along with the 1000's of supporters in this group, many who work inside the NHS, we can be ready to act in support of our community hospital, if the members of the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust step out of line again. Rest assured that there will be no complacency in that building for a good while.

Many of you met Patrick from 'Civility' at the demonstration. Have a look at this article on their website, you might need them one day.
Case #1 - victory for Dan!

Friday, 5 August 2011

I've had a response from the North Cumbria NHS Trust this afternoon which I consider derisory. At this rate we are moving towards a far larger demonstration than last time and one that will no doubt involve staff from within the hospital. I have set a date for Monday 22nd August and will inform the police that numbers will be in excess of 100 this time. I promised dialogue with the Trust before the next demonstration, so I will reply to their communication over this weekend. I find it hard to believe that with the support of both the local MP's, John Stevenson and Rory Stewart, and their own CEO saying that "this could have been handled very differently", that they now feel free to insult us with almost an 'action replay' of their first action plan. They are also not inclined to give a public apology! Why? I would if I had messed up as badly as they have!

I was at the hospital today on an appointment (9.40am). I was told that the Trust believe that "I can't do them any more damage than I have"! Do they seriously believe that this was about causing THEM damage? It was and still is all about improving our hospital; I don't care about them! If they still don't understand this then THEY must go.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

I keep getting asked for these links but I'm not sure how to put them permanently on the top page! So here they are again....

The link to the BBC's 'The One Show' 7pm Friday (just the clip now, not the whole show)

BBC Radio Cumbria's report on our very successful demonstration outside the Carlisle Cumberland Infirmary on Monday 4th July 2011. 

A video  of my interview with the 'News & Star' outside the Cumberland Infirmary. 

ITV Borders 'Lookaround' 

BBC's 'Look North' 

Local Paper

Yesterday, I went down to meet Owen Sharp, the CEO of the Prostate Cancer Charity and Ruth Holdaway, the Director of Operations. The Chairman of our local support group, Jim came down with me on what turned out to be a very worthwhile day.
Whenever you meet someone for the first time, you can't help but imagine beforehand, what they might be like, and I suppose the titles 'CEO' and 'Director of Operations', had me imagining two very aloof, unapproachable people, turning up in a very big car and using wet wipes after they had shaken hands with me. Not at all! Owen and Ruth dived off the train at Preston and sprinted most of the way to the meeting, pulling themselves together as they arrived at the hotel. Then again you might think, well anyone getting off a train at Preston might want to run for cover!

They are very nice approachable people who seem to have a genuine and passionate interest in the success of the Charity and for the cause that it supports. In short, I honestly believe that they are on our side in every way.

What did we talk about? Just about everything imaginable and I don't want to go into a 10 page write up on it today, but a quick list would be.....

The PCC… How it links in and communicates with the NHS
Training specialist nurses
Training GP's
Our own 'online community' of expertise
Skills available to the PCC within that community
Recognition for individuals within that community
The 'very good' and the 'could do better' stuff
Where the money goes
Prostate Cancer (everything!)
Involvement of Women
Support Groups

If you gave me an individual enquiry, these were all discussed and Ruth will be actioning if required and making improvements where needed. We talked about local support groups and how interaction could be improved between the PCC, especially in areas outside the reach of London and Glasgow.

Over the coming months I hope you will get to see some of the results of actions that we agreed on, some are only small and others a bit more 'ground breaking'. For instance, Owen is looking at coming onto a forum 'chat room' perhaps one evening every month so that you have an opportunity to contribute directly. Elise asked me to give Owen her Twitter details (nothing to do with chickens), she follows Owen and as the founder of our Ladies Support Group, she wanted to ask if he would follow her. Well before I had got home that evening, sure enough Owen is now following Elise. (As many of us do)

If you want to know more about individual questions that you asked then please e-mail me at or hook up on Facebook; I did cover ALL of the concerns and suggestions that you put to me.

Owen Sharp has just been in his position for 3 months and I was convinced after yesterday that we will see a more proactive charity going forward, with a team at the top who will be far more 'visible' and 'in touch' with us all.