Next month, Linton Blackwell will lace up his shoes and attempt to walk 30km from his home in Moe to Warragul to host the Baw Baw Prostate Cancer Support Group meeting. Why? Because he’s on a mission to walk 300km for The Long Run and walking to his monthly meeting is part of it.
Linton is the current leader of the Baw Baw Prostate Cancer Support Group which he launched in March 2022, after many years successfully leading the Bairnsdale Support Group.
His involvement first started when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011 – an unwelcome 60th birthday present.
“I had no symptoms, and it was only picked up in a series of blood tests after I changed doctors. After being asked about family background and my own health, I casually mentioned that my eldest brother had been diagnosed and it went from there.
“After six months of travelling back and forth to Melbourne for urologist appointments, biopsies, and physio appointments, I had a radical open prostatectomy.”
Linton said it wasn’t until an incontinence nurse told him about PCFA that he discovered there were support options available.
“When I was first diagnosed there was no mention of support, and we were left to our own devices to try and work things out for ourselves. Thankfully, I found a Support Group meeting and have been involved ever since.
“The support Pam, my wife, has given me through everything has also been amazing. She’s also been involved with the support groups as an equal. I am a very lucky man. This support has not changed over the nearly 50 years we’ve been married!”
Linton’s involvement with PCFA hasn’t just been through the Support Group. He’s been one of PCFA’s most active fundraisers and ambassadors. He was also awarded a Max Gardner Award in 2020 for distinguished service.
Linton’s three brothers and two of his nephews have also been diagnosed with prostate cancer, providing him with extra motivation to stay active and help make prostate cancer history.
“So many people in my family have been impacted by prostate cancer. With five more nephews and two of our own sons that are still at risk, it motivates me to continue.
“I’ve joined The Long Run again this year as another way I can give back to PCFA. I wear a PCFA shirt every day throughout September when I’m out walking to keep spreading the word – and it works. So many people ask what it’s all about and it gives me the opportunity to talk to them about this.
“Even in my own circle, when I posted about my journey on Facebook, a friend in England commented that he got tested and was clear, but then he talked his cousin into getting tested and he was found to be positive with no symptoms. After treatment, he is now ok. But it all started with a conversation.”
Last year, Linton walked 700km for The Long Run, and nearly as far in 2020.
This year, despite dealing with deteriorating arthritis and hip problems, Linton is pushing on and aiming to walk an incredible 300km.
“The arthritis is starting to slow me down which makes it harder, but I want to see what I can do! I’ll even be walking from Moe to Warragul to attend our Baw Baw meeting, held on the second Wednesday of every month.”
When asked why others should back The Long Run and get involved for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Linton said;
“I’ll be encouraging all our members and those of the Latrobe valley group to walk no matter how far! This can be something that can be done together and can also build a bit of team spirit and get blokes talking while walking.”
You can join Linton this September by signing up at www.thelongrun.org.au.