Prostate cancer ambassador returns to Neasden for free health event hosted by Shaun Wallace
PUBLISHED: 16:09 08 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:48 16 July 2019
A Brent-raised cancer survivor is launching his life-saving awareness-raising campaign at a free event in Neasden.
Errol McKellar, an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK, will be appearing at the Mane Culture Health Awareness Day, at midday on Sunday.
The ticket-only event at the Neasden Shopping Centre barber is hosted by Shaun Wallace from ITV's The Chase. Tickets are at maneculture.co.uk/events.
Together with champions from the sickle cell and diabetes communities, Errol is launching a project highlighting the need for men, particularly African Caribbean men, to start talking about their health.
On the day he spoke to the Kilburn Times he had attended his fourth funeral this year. And he saw 12 men he knew die of prostate cancer last year.
"I do the campaign I do to raise awareness," he said.
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"These are conversations that need to be had. We have come together to have this in the barber shop, which is helping us to get the message out, about prostate cancer, diabetes and sickle cell.
"Prostate cancer thrives on ignorance and silence. If you can get men talking, it's a massive, massive plus."
Born in Harlesden, his family moved around the borough as he was growing up, to areas including Kensal Green, Wembley and Kensal Rise.
He was a pupil at Princess Frederica Primary School, and Alperton High School, before following his father's advice and training as a mechanic at a garage in Preston Avenue.
By the age of 34 he'd moved to Hackney and set up his own garage there, which turned into a platform after his own cancer diagnosis to encourage male motorists to get tested.
It was his wife Sharon's complaints about his snoring that propelled him to visit a doctor. While waiting he picked up a leaflet from Prostate Cancer UK and was offered a "simple blood test" that day.
"Little did I realise that 10 minutes was going to change the rest of my life," he said. He was 53 and weeks later got the cancer diagnosis.
He has now formed a foundation to spread awareness to African and Caribbean countries. Of 47,000 men diagnosed each year, 11,000 die, he said. One in every eight European man will get it but the figure rises to one in four for African Caribbean men.