Cancer sufferer takes on island sailing challengeBy Alice Murphy
June 01, 2010
A cancer sufferer is taking part in a special sailing challenge to raise funds for the charity Prostate UK.
Robin Wood, 67, who lives in The Shires, has suffered from prostate cancer for seven years but will be taking part in the Sail Time Round the Island Race Charity Challenge Cup race on Saturday, June 19.
Mr Wood will tackle the 50 nautical mile course around the Isle of Wight on a Beneteau Oceanis yacht, racing three other crews on identical vessels.
He is making the trip despite having had a bleak initial prognosis when he was diagnosed with advanced terminal prostate cancer in 2003.
Having taken part in pioneering drug trials and after radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Mr Wood is continuing to campaign to raise awareness of the prostate cancer diagnosis test available to men over 50 concerned about the disease.
He said: “The only symptom I had was I was getting up more in the night to go to the toilet but I just thought I needed to drink less before I went to bed.
“Then I saw an article about prostate cancer in a national newspaper that mentioned some of the symptoms and getting up more in the night was one. I went to the doctors and asked for a PSA test – normal is under five, my score came back as 98.
“When you’re first told you have incurable cancer you don’t hear anything else the doctor says. I’d walked in a perfectly fit person and it’s a sucker punch you cannot believe.
“But then I started to research the illness and treatments and when I’ve been offered the chance to trial new drugs I’ve taken it because I have a son and two grandsons and without the guinea pigs you aren’t going to find the cures.”
The Round The Island race features 16,000 sailors on 1,700 boats and, this year, round-the-world yachtswoman Dame
Ellen MacArthur will start off the race.
Mr Wood, the former president of Easthampstead Rotary Club, has finished the race six times, the last three as skipper of his yacht Noumanon in aid of Prostate UK.
This year, however, because of his deteriorating health he realised he would be unable to enter with his yacht and after breaking his hip in April, Mr Wood thought he would not compete at all before being asked to be part of Prostate UK’s Charity Challenge crew.
He said: “The race is a total adrenaline rush and it’s a great opportunity for me to raise awareness of prostate disease and raise money to support the charity’s research and campaigns by taking part.”
The winning crew will be presented with their trophies by three-time Olympic sailing champion Ben Ainslie.
To sponsor Mr Wood visit www.justgiving.com/robiniain.