Successful men’s cancer awareness night at the Waitrose store in Northampton

A prostate and testicular cancer awareness evening took place at a Northampton Waitrose store last Thursday (17 November) and was a great success, according to the organisers.

The event, held at Waitrose on Harborough Road, was supported by Oddballs Testicular Cancer Charity and Northampton Prostate Support Group.

The organizer, Marion Chown, has been an employee of the store for the past 31 years and, as a breast cancer survivor, has organized many fundraisers and awareness events over the years, and now it was her turn to a men’s night

Organizer Marion Chown, Northampton Town Football Club midfielder Marc Leonard to her right and several Waitrose staff on Harborough Road.

Money was also raised last Friday (November 18) in the shop, with the total currently standing at £405 thanks to a bake sale, a raffle and staff members purchasing ribbon badges made by Marion. This is split between Oddballs and Cancer Research.

Marion said: “It went so well after being worried that no one would show up. It was full and at every table in the cafe someone was sitting. There were people of all ages with whom we were very happy.”

The main takeaway for the evening was among the younger men who attended, and they were encouraged to regularly check themselves out and talk openly about their experiences. Elliot from Oddballs educated them on how to properly check their bodies.

Many were also unaware that the Northampton Prostate Support Group existed, and Marion says those who attended took the opportunity to speak with their representative, Richard, who was present.

The event, held last Thursday (November 17), was supported by Oddballs Testicular Cancer Charity and Northampton Prostate Support Group.

Richard also set up a table in Waitrose last week for people to seek advice. Although he wasn’t there to collect donations, he made over £100 selling badges and people took the opportunity to talk openly about his experiences.

Comedian Tony Howes, who lives in Northampton and is a regular at Waitrose on Harborough Road, heard that the event was taking place and wanted to appear. He lives with prostate cancer and did a “funny” comedy routine about his experiences.

“It was a last minute addition to what we had planned, but it made the night,” Marion said. “She even revealed her scar to show the reality of what she’s been through.”

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The organizer understands the difficult economic times we are facing and was very pleased with the generosity of Waitrose employees who donated to the cause. Marion said: “Anything the charities receive will be used for medicines, treatments or equipment. They appreciate anything and everything.”

Marc Leonard, a midfielder for Northampton Town Football Club, even made an appearance in support of the cause, taking photos and signing programs, causing a furor among Cobblers fans at the event.

As plans for the evening began before the pandemic hit, Marion described it as a “relief” that it had finally happened, as “the need for men to seek help and raise awareness remains just as important.”

After putting the Christmas period aside, Marion hopes to plan another awareness event next year as “we all know someone affected by cancer.”

Although no plans are set in stone, he hopes this will happen next September in aid of a childhood cancer charity.

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