Stadium renaming will help raise awareness of prostate cancer, and could save lives.
There's no game for the Hatters on today's fixture list, but Tuesday's match against Wycombe has an added significance, as we rename Kenilworth Road to the Prostate Cancer UK Stadium. Here's the powerful story of Errol, a former youth scout for Luton Town.
57 year old Errol McKellar was a youth scout for the Hatters in the 90s in Lennie Lawrence’s era. In 2010 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“I was sitting in a doctors’ waiting room, I was bit bored, and something made me go and pick up this leaflet about prostate cancer. I asked them, ‘how long will it take to do this prostate test?’ and they said, ’10 minutes - and we can do it now.’ That 10 minutes changed my life.” Further tests revealed he had prostate cancer. At first he found it incredibly difficult to come to terms with.
“When I got my results the doctor said to me, ‘look, your prostate is covered in cancer, you could be dead in six months.’ I broke down. I literally just broke down, I was distraught, I was in tears. You know, I’m not ashamed to admit, I really cried. You imagine going into a room with no light. That’s what it felt like. It felt as if someone had pulled the plug on me. It was a very difficult period and took me a long time to get positive again.
“And my wife, she let me cry and then she turned around and said to me ‘right, you’ve never quit at anything in your life, so what are you going to do now?’ And that’s when I made this decision to turn this negative thing into a positive thing. I told myself, I’m going beat this.”
In February 2011 Errol had an operation to remove his prostate and went on to have three months of radiotherapy and has now been given the all clear, although he is dealing with some side effects from his treatment.
“Since having treatment, I do have a numbness, down there, in the lower part of my body. I’m a young person, I’m an active person and when certain ‘tools of your trade’ are taken away from you – it’s difficult to deal with. But for me, I’m alive, and that’s what’s important to me.”
Now Errol is determined to overcome the disease and has pledged to raise awareness amongst men of his age. As a car mechanic and garage owner in East London, Errol encourages men who come into his garage to go and speak to their GP about their risk.
“I say to my customers, when was the last time you had your prostate checked? You brought your car in here for me to check because there’s a problem. Do you know what’s going on in your own inside? Men need to talk about it – even if they don’t want to.
“I talk to men of all ages. I talk to women too – because they get the message across to their men. I try and spread the message every single day. I want to reach men before it’s too late. I really believe we can beat this.”
Errol’s part of Men United, Prostate Cancer UK’s movement for everyone who believes men are worth fighting for. Men United starts with friendships and people doing something great together to beat prostate cancer and keep friendships alive. The friendships Errol made in Luton are still going strong after all these years.
“I was introduced to Luton Town by my mate Ricky Hill. We played together as youngsters, and kept in touch as his career blossomed. I worked at the old training ground alongside the M1 with Paul Lowe and Dean Rastrick. Paul went on to lead recruitment for Liverpool and Dean’s now head of the academy at Spurs. But we all keep in touch – although Ricky’s out coaching in the States we still call each other from time to time, and I’m still in touch with the Steins – we all grew up together in north west London and we made friendships for a lifetime.”
“What Luton is doing on Tuesday is amazing. By renaming the stadium for a match they’re really helping get the word out there. It could save a lot of lives – just like mine. Thank you Hatters. Thank you for keeping friendships alive.”
You can help us to help Prostate Cancer UK, and many more people just like Errol who are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in the UK.
Simply text LUTON to 70004 to donate £5. Thank you.
Prostate Cancer UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1005541) and in Scotland (SC039332). Registered company 2653887.