The idea was brilliant and one of the reasons why I was so looking forward to this particular talk. You are going to have four chats in one day, one after the other for the same company. Just don’t bring your normal drama with you Ellis.
Atlassian Construction is based in East London. They are the biggest construction company that most people have never heard of. They have built hundreds of buildings in London, primarily hotels and residential blocks. They have a large number of construction workers working for them and have won awards for health and safety and the treatment of their employees. One of the directors has a family member that was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, prompting this chat. The plan is that if the feedback from the employees attending my meetings today is positive they then want to hold meetings in all of their building sites and offices nationally. No pressure then.
I met Alan at the small reception desk and he led me downstairs to the conference room. He then took me on a tour of the offices. I would estimate there were about sixty employees working there. It was his idea to have four separate meetings so that as many people as possible could attend the meetings. That made me think back to last year when I gave a presentation at a large insurance office, which had over five thousand employees in the head office building alone. There were not fifteen people in the meeting. Alan had obviously thought this one out. The meetings were to take place at 9.30, 10.15, 11 and 11.45. I had just revamped my fifteen minute presentation, so with questions I would have at least ten minutes between them.
The revamped presentation had all of the key messages that PCUK want us to get across and I had added many of the quotes and facts and figures that I had picked up along the way. The first group, consisted of ten employees including four women and was a good mix otherwise based on race and age. My new catchphrase ‘Man up and shup up’ when comparing the digital rectal examination to what women have to go through for a smear test went down particularly well with the women and caused a bit of debate. The rest of the presentation went very well. At the end I had three employees waiting to talk to me, two men and one woman.
One guy who was in his twenties told me about his battle with testicular cancer. He agreed that it’s something men do just not want to talk about. He had been different though and has been very open with his colleagues about his fight. This is the second time someone had mentioned testicular cancer to me after one of my talks. I had a brief investigation afterwards and its interesting to note that its almost the opposite of prostate cancer. It is the most common cancer to affect men between the ages of fifteen and forty nine and white males have a higher risk of developing it then men from ethnic groups. The woman of the group had successfully had a cancerous growth removed from her neck. The second guy had been waiting at the back of the room and only came closer once the others had left. He shook my hand vigorously and held it. He said he really enjoyed my talk and thanked me.
He then burst into tears.
His father had died of prostate cancer. I got a tissue and handed it to him. I just held his shoulder as he sobbed. He sobbed hard but only for a few moments and composed himself very quickly. I gently told him he needs to make sure he gets tested as he will be at risk. He nodded and thanked me again. We embraced before he left.
This is why I do this.
I had got over my earlier reservations regarding collecting money and now I had an official money tin I had decided to try selling some of the PCUK badges. They were going down very well. Not like a sticky bun at a Weightwatchers meeting but pretty decent. I could think of a certain devil bashing Christian I would love to pin one on and accidentally forget the safety catch at the end of the pin as I innocently slapped the badge into place. I would even pay for the badge. Good thoughts now!
The second group also went well. It consisted of eleven employees and again was a good mix of men, women across all ages and races. When I said that I wanted to get a health check because I was turning fifty the mouth on one of the women dropped open and she mouthed disbelief to her colleagues, she could not believe I was fifty.
I particularly liked this group the best 😉
When I mentioned that some men may experience resistance if they try to get tested it resonated with one of the men that had indeed experienced it. Luckily the employees at Atlassian Construction would not have too much to worry about that experience. Alan had earlier told me that the company had a health plan for its employees and they had added the PSA test as an option. At the end of this talk I got the first applause of the day and a few handshakes.
This time around one of the women in the group waited to talk to me. She said she and her husband enjoy walking but he frequently needs to go to the toilet, even if he has just been recently. Not only that it also takes him ages to get his pee started. I didn’t want to alarm her but I said they are some of the classic symptoms of something being potentially wrong with the prostate. I urged her to tell him to see a doctor and she readily nodded. I also asked her to let me know the outcome and she promised that she would.
This is why I do this.
The third group only consisted of five employees and they were happy, purchased badges and off they went.
The final group was a another ten. They were engaged and had plenty of questions. The final questions came from one of the black guys. He was a bit sheepish about it and said that I didn’t need to answer if it was too hard or personal. He asked how the impotence and incontinence was going now.
He may have got more of an answer than he ever expected. He apologised for what I was going through and I said thank you but its all good.
I had a great day, I really enjoyed talking to this group. Alan said that he had got some feedback already and it had all been very positive.
I was so happy I purchased a badge. It must have been a rouge one as the pin was unusually long.
I don’t need another badge, but I know someone who does.
I really want to do that.