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Why am I doing this?

Posted on Monday 23rd

An upcoming ‘Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride’ combines several of a Devonport man’s passions.

Steve Smith will ride his Enfield motorbike with hundreds of other dapper gents (and ladies) on classic bikes on 29 September to raise funds for men’s mental health and prostate cancer.

“I have had a few friends survive prostate cancer. A good friend is 27 months in remission.

“The more men who are aware of the PSA test, the better. It could save your life.” The other focus of the ride is men’s mental health. Smith, who has lost two friends to suicide, believes it is something men need to talk more about.  “My first friend who took his life was always in control of our friendship. He was the outgoing one. I didn’t see it – men don’t show their feelings.”

Smith experienced depression 10 years ago, after bringing his family to New Zealand from South Africa and settling in Devonport. It was a major upheaval and he also questioned the wisdom of separating his wife and children from their extended family.

Attending Holy Trinity church gave Smith a support network, and he sought professional counselling, as well as returning to Johannesburg to confirm his decision.

He couldn’t be happier now, but knows a lot of men won’t seek help.

Smith is spreading the word and pursuing his own “stress-relieving and anti-depres- sion” motorbiking passion with the upcoming fundraiser. 

Article published in the Devonport Flagstaff

https://devonportflagstaff.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/sept20devonportflagstaffissu.pdf

 

 

Prostate Cancer - Will You be a Statistic?

Posted on Tuesday 10th

A story by a friend who has survived prostate cancer.

Luigi Cappel: https://www.linkedin.com/in/luigicappel/

 

One of those bags in the picture was mine. For 8 weeks, before work I would drive across the Auckland Harbour Bridge for radiation treatment each morning. I'd fill me bladder up in the car, drinking lots of water on the way to Mercy Hospital. I'd arrive close to bursting, sign in, take my clothes off, put on a lavalava and join the other men and their support people waiting in a lounge for a does of radiation.

I have prostate cancer.

I've been in remission now for around 27 months. If not for a PSA test on the urging of my wife, I might not be here to tell you about it.

I'd like to share a little bit of my story with you, because it may save your life or that of someone you know.

New Zealand is a small country with a small population. Yet, today, based on current averages, 2 people in New Zealand will die from prostate cancer and around 10 people will be diagnosed with it. I don't know about you, but to me that's a lot of people AND many of them did not have to die.

Now most people who get prostate cancer are over 50, but people have been known to get it in their 20's and 30's. Whatever the age is, doesn't make it any less devastating. There is some great research going on in this space and donating to fundraising is very important for many reasons. They include to raise awareness, to encourage people to get a PSA test, to provide support for people who have the condition and to support research to make treatments affordable.

When I found out I had prostate cancer, I was gobsmacked. Those things happen to other unfortunate people, not to me. My family were also devastated, to an extent that I didn't realise to start with, because they were trying to support me, rather than let me see how they felt.

I then went to Doctor Google, online support groups, an actual support group, I tried dietary treatments like eating sea cucumber, not nice! I bought a book, recommended as one of the best. which talked about all of the different ways it can be treated. I can tell you that was nightmare material, especially for people who didn't find it early.

The scariness of the treatment is proportional to the delay in finding out that you have the condition. Discover it early and it might be radiation or drugs, and you can be in remission very quickly. The problem with prostate cancer is that you can be a long way down the track without noticing any symptoms at all.

Leave it too long and assuming you survive, you might be in for surgery to remove the prostate, which amongst other things can result in a reduction in the size of your penis (sorry but I want to be real here and I hope that spurs you into action), inability to get an erection, incontinence and of course death. How's that for a shopping list?

So which would you rather have, a blood test for starters, which will give you a baseline of what your normal PSA levels are, perhaps add it to your annual medical checkup, or a combination of the things in the paragraph above? How would you deal with any one of those options?

I have campaigned for the last few years, since getting cancer, because that PSA test saved my life. I've encouraged more than 20 people to get tested. I'm pleased to say not a single one of them has cancer, but they now have a baseline so that if things change, they can deal to it in a hurry, but they also have the peace of mind that they don't have it.

So please get yourself tested and support any initiatives that may help others from suffering needlessly and encourage friends, colleagues and family to do the same.

One thing I do also strongly recommend is to make sure you have medical insurance, life insurance or some form of hospital/medical insurance that will cover you before getting the test. When I found out I had cancer, the first thing my insurance broker said to me was "Luigi, you are now officially uninsurable."

A close friend of mine has cancer and has to be on chemo for the rest of her life. Her policy only covers 60% of the treatment costs. She had to sell her home in Auckland and move to a small town, to cover the cost of the drugs that have kept her alive. You don't want to be in that situation.

A couple of years ago, I was at a prostate cancer fundraising poker night at Sky City Casino. I spoke with a well know radio personality after she gave a brief presentation about having lost her father to prostate cancer. Being a typical Kiwi bloke, he knew he had a problem with his waterworks, but being a typical Kiwi male, he wasn't going to take that problem to a doctor.

"She'll be right", he may have thought. I'm just guessing. he may have told himself, no doctor is putting his finger where the sun don't shine.

He took those thoughts to the grave, leaving a desperately distressed family behind, knowing that he could still be alive today and they will never get over the fact that his old school Kiwi attitude, his tough manliness cost him his life.

If not for yourself, do it for your loved ones. For your partner, for your children. be one of the statistics of people who either know they don't have it, or found out early like me and live to tell the tale. Do it soon.

Tomorrow another 2 Kiwi men will die from prostate cancer and another 10 will find out they have it. The same the next day and the next. That adds up.

I want to thank the people who volunteer to raise funds for cancer support and research, whether it's doing a bike run, growing a moustache or just sharing the story. It doesn't just happen to someone else. It happens to people like you and me.

Huge thank you to Luigi Cappel for sharing

https://www.linkedin.com/in/luigicappel/

 

Robin Willams

Posted on Monday 9th

Depression, anxiety and panic attacks are not signs of weakness. They are signs of trying to remain strong for far too long

Robin Williams

21 July 1951 - 11 August 2014

This picture hit me hard

Posted on Monday 12th

I had a friend who smiled like this, was always happy until he took his own life.

Suicide Prevention | Men's Mental Health

3 out of 4 suicides are men

510,000 men die from suicide globally each year. That’s one every minute. This has to change.

The causes of suicide are complex. There’s no single reason why men take their own lives, but we do know that by improving overall mental health we can reduce the risk of suicide. We need to address untreated mental health conditions among men.

Too many men are toughing it out and struggling alone. There’s no shame in checking in your own mental wellbeing, and those close to around you. Our friends over at Movember have produced some handy guides, that might help take the sting out of broaching the subject.

Here is a list of things we can do to help a friend

Let's do it again

Posted on Friday 2nd

On Sunday September 29th 2019, over 130,000 distinguished gentlefolk in over 700 cities worldwide will don their cravats, tussle their ties, press their tweed, and sit astride their classic and vintage styled motorcycles to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and men's mental health.

This is the third year that I am taking part in The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride to raise funds on behalf of the Movember Foundation.  Last year, you helped me raise over $5500 NZD for this worthy cause and I am aiming to make it $10 000 this year.

2018 ride raised 6.2M USD with over 114k riders in 102 countries and aiming our target this year to $7 million USD

Please reach out to give what you can and show your support.

Check out this YouTube video from last year’s event with over 500 bikes.

Join me on the Ride for Men's Health in The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride

Posted on Sunday 28th

On Sunday the 29th of September, I will don my finest attire with my fellow men and women across the globe to join the fight with The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride to raise awareness for prostate cancer and men's mental health. But before I press my tweed and polish my boots, I need you to donate what you can for this meaningful cause and help me reach my goal.

For your uncles, your brothers, your fathers and friends. Donate what you can, for their lives need not end.

My Sponsors

Andy

Love you bro. Great cause... Buy a Ducati.

$337 USD
B Moore

Have a great ride steve!

$333 USD
Anonymous

$318 USD
Anonymous

$256 USD
Steve Smith

$222 USD
Advantage

Proud to have Steve as a member of our team. Good luck for the ride!

$163 USD
Garry Stuckey

You can do it Steve, as you did last year 2018 ... all in the best cause possible ..too many guys get Prostate Cancer ..Go Steve..GO MAN GO !!

$134 USD
Anonymous

Great cause and hopefully a great time had by all as well

$134 USD
Rob Hay

$133 USD
Anonymous

All the Best mate! You can do it. Great cause !

$132 USD
Hayley Lambourn

Good on you Steve, another year out there supporting awareness and wellness to all. Thanks for the link. Hails

$130 USD
Helen Hatchard

Good on you! What a fantastic cause.

$67 USD
Graeme Slogrove

$67 USD
Paul Glass

Well done Steve.

$66 USD
Trevor Fowler

$66 USD
Trevor Fowler

$66 USD
Nancy Nasef

Thank you Steve for all you stand for and your support !

$65 USD
Mark Simmons

Good onya Steve. Great cause. Love your work. Happy to support you. Go well brother.

$65 USD
Anonymous

You are a good man

$64 USD
Linda Simmons

Proud of you... go for it!

$63 USD
Franco Dancel

Happy to support a good cause.

$45 USD
Steve Smith

$41 USD
Tim Hurring

$34 USD
Satendra

Have a fun and safe ride Steve for a great cause

$34 USD
Brett Cheetham

$34 USD
Steve Gustafsson

$34 USD
Rich, Mitch And Tay Dodds

Great cause Steve

$34 USD
Russ & Lynda

Good luck with reaching your target Smithy

$33 USD
Jo Kibblewhite

Thanks for this Steve.

$33 USD
David Anstey

$33 USD
Adam Mercer

$33 USD
David Jackson

All the best Steve!

$33 USD
Jon Hooper

Great work Steve, ride safely.

$33 USD
C L Lovell

Posters in the gym were the clincher

$33 USD
Cam Anderson

Excellent cause and one I am proud to support

$33 USD
Jacques Boucher

$33 USD
Andrew Geee

Keep up the great work, Steve.

$33 USD
Paul Phillips

$33 USD
Gary Bendall

wonderful to see and hear all those riders on Ponsonby Road. Keep up the good work. I'm a prostate cancer survivor too

$33 USD
Elia

$33 USD
Peter Nelson

Great cause Steve!

$33 USD
Glenn Rogers

Well done steve

$33 USD
Ingrid Silapan

$33 USD
Karl Reynolds

Go Bro Go.

$33 USD
Sonya Forbes

Great cause Steve. Take care out there!

$32 USD
John Ashton

$32 USD
Julian Sher

$32 USD
Raymond Lowe

$32 USD
John Rickman

$31 USD
Julian Kroll

$27 USD
Nicole Roche

Great cause Steve... Nicole from the gym

$20 USD
Simon

$16 USD
Alec Potter

$16 USD
Michael Mayer

Enjoy.

$14 USD
Jason Wang

Go Ride ~

$13 USD
Pubudu Gamage

$13 USD
Owen Lyttelton

$13 USD
Aleisha O'neill

$13 USD
Zinka Matulic

$13 USD
Matt Hunt

Good luck mate!

$13 USD
Anonymous

$13 USD
Robert Read

Keep up the great work mate

$13 USD
Andrew Ramson

$13 USD
Anonymous

Good on ya Steve

$13 USD
Christina Mackenzie

$13 USD
Mark Flaherty

Good luck reaching the target!

$13 USD
Carly Senior

$13 USD
Anonymous

$13 USD
Luigi Cappel

Thank you so much for what you are doing Steve, I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for a few simple blood tests and as for depression, I have not been without black days. Guys don't talk much about these things, but they die from them.

$13 USD
Michael Hochwimmer

$13 USD
Martin Walker

$13 USD
Rosa Boffa

Best of luck Steve, well done for creating so much awareness around men’s health. Have been meaning to donate for weeks!

$13 USD
Al Ritchie

Love your work.

$13 USD
Tony Eid

Great cause Steve, I am sure that with people like yourself that are focused on helping others you will meet the objectives. Tony

$13 USD
Anonymous

Hi Steve, goods luck with the ride. Cheers, Scott.

$13 USD
Reymond De Bruto

Hey My Friend I hope this helps. Regards Reymond

$13 USD
Mike Harris

$10 USD
Tapan Karambelkar

Ride one mate!

$7 USD
Mark Naidoo

$7 USD
Tyler Hunt

$7 USD
Parvez Khambatta

$7 USD
Andrea Levett

Way to go Steve again, hope you reach your target.

$3 USD
Aylin Edhouse

Good cause well done and good luck!

$3 USD
Louise Sanderson

$3 USD
John

Coffee

$3 USD

Local Ride Sponsors