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movember

PROSTABLOG NZ: Moustaches or blue paint? What works best when it comes to helping prostate cancer patients?

This may be a dilemma for NZ’s generous public as two Australian-based organisations go up against one another in annual Kiwi campaigns to get attention – and money – for the world’s most devious killer of men.

Marketing company (MWC Media) has just completed Blue September, which has just run for the second time here.

Seemingly unique to NZ and Australia, Blue September uses celebrities, blue paint on faces, clever branding, media events and photo-ops to raise the profile of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of NZ, a bunch of mostly volunteer prostate cancer survivors and their families.

The other is charitable organisation  Movember. It hooked up with the Foundation in 2006 and in two years raised more than $2 million for the foundation’s coffers.

But in 2008 it switched its benevolent aim to the Cancer Society of NZ and the Mental Health Foundation.

Also big in Australia, the US, Canada and the UK, Movember is in the process of launching once again for next month.

This week, it got national press and web attention with the announcement of a survey it had done on how poorly men look after their health (no details of the sample size, who did the survey, etc, were released, going by the media reports).

Movember began as the 2003 brainwave of four Aussie blokes and has since grown into a global operation which raises funds for the US Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Prostate Cancer Charity in Britain, and the Cancer Council in Australia.

Australia and NZ seem to be the only countries where there are two prostate awareness campaigns running closely together (separated by October).

Who raises what, who gets the money and what’s it spent on?

This writer knows the answers so far as the NZ Prostate Cancer Foundation is concerned (I was a board member for a couple of month).

They were published here in August, when we provided an account of the foundation’s annual results released at its annual meeting in late July.

What about the Cancer Society of NZ, the 50% beneficiary of Movember (it’s unclear how the Mental Health Foundation got into the act, but we have asked Movember. There has been a delay because earlier this month its NZ website was not working)?

Some questions were put to Dalton Kelly, the Cancer Society’s CEO, who readily provided detailed answers today.

Here’s what we asked, and here’s what he said:

Hello Jim – thank you for your email.

We are very happy to share our involvement with Movember and the funding we have received from them. We have very detailed project plans and accounting processes, which we use to report back to Movember on a regular basis, so I can do this straight away for you.

How much did the Cancer Society receive from the Movember organisers last year?

The Cancer Society received 50% of funds raised from the 2008 Movember Campaign. The Mental Health Foundation was the recipient of the other 50%.

What was that money spent on?

The money was divided into a three-way split – one third research, one third for regional projects and one third for national projects.

The research share was awarded in our last grants round to two projects:

To improve the health and quality of life of prostate cancer patients on androgen deprivation therapy by programmed physical activity

Dr Justin Keogh and Dr Daniel Shepherd, School of Sport and Recreation, AUT University, Auckland. Money from this grant round will be used by the investigator to explore how to best get men with prostate cancer into exercise programmes and how they may stay in it. Men on hormone treatment for prostate cancer lose some strength and exercise may reverse this.

RADAR prostate cancer trial

The biggest prostate cancer trial in Australasia has been running since 2007. Associate Professor David Lamb, based in Wellington, is investigating how long to use hormone therapy in prostate cancer, and whether the side effectives of treatment (osteoporosis) could be reduced by the use of bone-hardening drugs (bisphosphonates).

So far the regional budget has been awarded to eight regional projects:

  • Field Days – men’s health with a focus on prostate cancer – Waikato.
  • Developing a resource being a hardware education tool for prostate cancer – Central Districts.
  • Men’s Health Challenge brochure delivered to the RFU – Taranaki Centre.
  • Workplace-based men’s health initiative with a focus on prostate cancer (with an intention it will be developed into a national model) – Wellington
  • A prostate cancer support project to visit rural areas using kaumatua who have had prostate cancer to talk to the men/women and also a project with all the Rotary Clubs focusing on prostate cancer – Gisborne/East Coast.
  • What do men want? A series of focus groups asking men about how they want information about prostate cancer delivered to them – booklets, advertising, and also reviewing the Cancer Society’s current prostate cancer literature for suitability – Auckland.
  • Hawkes Bay A&P Show – Men’s Warrant of fitness

National Office has spent some of its allocation on the Men’s Health Challenge – targeting organisations such as the Defence Forces, Fire and Police Service where the employees are largely men.

What proportion was spent on prostate cancer?

All the money has been spent on prostate cancer in the sense that all the projects have a focus on prostate cancer and there is a component in every activity addressing prostate cancer.

In addition the projects promote reducing risks behaviours – such as not smoking, eating well and exercising -as we see these as an important aspect of public education.

What amount do you expect to receive this year?

We don’t really have any idea – we have not made any projections.

What will this year’s proceeds be spent on?

We plan to repeat the exercise of one third to research, one third to regional projects (which there will be a grant round again for) and one third to developing national programmes and resources focusing on prostate Cancer

What proportion of the overall sum raised by Movember is given to your society?

Once expenses are taken out, the Cancer Society receives half the money in conjunction with the Mental Health Foundation.

How much did the society receive from the Rowing For Prostate team in the Indian Ocean Rowing Race? I understand you agreed to be a beneficiary of that. The team apparently raised 24,000 pounds for the UK Prostate Cancer Charity.

The Rowing for Prostate Team approached the Cancer Society of New Zealand to ask us to be a beneficiary for this fundraiser in New Zealand.

Initially, as was Movember, the Rowing for Prostate team had aligned itself to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Both organisations found it very difficult to work with the Prostate Cancer Foundation and approached us instead.

We felt the project had a great deal of merit in that the boys were very high profile, committed to spreading the word about prostate cancer and were good role models in terms of living healthy lives.

At this stage we do not know the amount we will receive from this fundraising event.

On this last question – how much came from the four English expats living in NZ who made up the Rowing For Prostate (RFP) team – Prostablog can assist to a small degree.

We found an English fundraising organisation called Just Giving that handled the RFP fundraising, which involved some radio stations in Auckland and a Rowing For Prostate website (now gone).

It says the rowers’ target was £24,000.00 ($NZ51,827.43), its main beneficiary is the UK Prostate Cancer Charity, and the target was slightly exceeded (£24,145.03 raised so far).

Prostablog has emailed the website to ask how much of the money is coming back to the NZ Cancer Society, but so far there is no reply.

A similar request made to the organisers of the Indian Ocean Rowing Race referred us to the Rowing For Prostate team, but our inquiry some weeks ago has drawn no response.

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JULY 6: PROSTABLOG NZ: While Kiwi boat Rowing For Prostate probably (we don’t know for sure) has fewer than 200 miles to go in the Indian Ocean Rowing Race, the women’s four, Pura Vida reported in tonight with just 27 miles to go.

They will cross the finish line at Mauritius in the next 24 hours, nearly 80 days after the start and 3231 miles from Australia.

The women led the race for a week or so in the middle of the event, after charging ahead of the Bexhill Trust four, which finished second behind eights boat Aud Eamus more than a week ago. They’re now set to take third.

The Prostate rowers are expected into port towards the end of this week, and will take fourth place.

Their exact position is unclear after their communications technology failed late last month. They were spotted by an aircraft a few days ago.

Two other crews, both pairs, lie about 1000 miles back and will take a couple of weeks or more to finish.

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JULY 1: PROSTABLOG NZ: NZ four Rowing for Prostate have done what every man with prostate problems probably wishes would happen to his prostate – disappeared.

However, no fears are held for the crew of the Indian Ocean Rowing Race entry, due to arrive in Mauritius next week in fourth place.

A statement on the race website was picked up by media overnight, making the race and its prostate entry prominent news for the past day.

The website’s theory is Prostate’s only remaining means of communication, a satellite phone, can no longer be charged, and since the (separate) satellite tracker gave up some weeks ago, there is no way for the crew to check in.

Race organisers have despatched the support boat to Prostate’s last known position.

row July1The website progress map still has them with 553 miles to go, the position they reported during last contact on Friday.

If they maintain their average of about 35 miles a day, they probably have about 400 miles to go to the finish line, which was crossed at the weekend by leading boats Aud Eamus (eight) and Bexhill Trust Challenger (four) after 70 days.

Third-placed boat, Pura Vida, had fewer than 200 miles to row when they reported in this morning.

Here’s the official website statement about the “missing” prostate rowers:

Some time ago the satellite tracking unit on boat No. 5 ‘Rowing For Prostate’ ceased to work. Since that time the team has been using their Satellite telephone to text and email their position every 12 hours to Race HQ, which was then manually entered to update the website ‘Progress Page’.

The Team had reported that their satellite telephone was not taking charge and using the phone was becoming more problematic. They were of the opinion it was only a matter of time before their satellite phone stopped working. It would now appear their prediction was right and since Friday 26th June the Team have been unable to make contact and Race HQ has been unable to contact the boat.

As frustrating and concerning as it is not to have an accurate position for the boat, there is nothing to suggest the boat has any other problem that may explain the lack of communication other than a satellite phone that is no longer working.

The comprehensive Race Rules require that each boat carries an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) together with a 406MHz PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), both of which transmit a ‘May Day’ message via satellite, and if the Team were in any kind of trouble, or danger they would active one or both of these devices.

It maybe possible the Team can contact a passing ship using their VHF radio and request their position is passed on to Race HQ. The Support Vessel is currently on its way to ‘Rowing For Prostates’ last reported position and will sail down the anticipated track of the boat in the hope of locating them by either visual identification, VHF radio or by picking the boat up on their AIS () transceiver.

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JUNE 27: PROSTABLOG NZ: Confusing news from the Indian Ocean – two boats seem to have won the 2009 rowing race, despite one crossing the finish line more than 30 hours ahead of the other.

The eights team, Aud Eamus, led over the past few days, got to Mauritius first around 4pm on June 25 GMT and was feted with a press release saying they smashed the 38-year-0ld race record by six days. They did it in 58 days, 15 hours.

But then, more than a day later at 10.40pm GMT on June 26, the fours crew, Bexhill Trust Challenger, which led most of the race, got to the finish and was acclaimed the winner.

We’re obviously missing something here, a rule perhaps lurking in the eights boat’s designation as an “open” entry, whatever that means.

row june 27

Here’s what the race website announced at 4.29pm on June 25:

A multi-national crew of eight amateur rowers (6 men and 2 women) today smashed a record that has remained unbroken for 38 years, for the fastest ever crossing of the Indian Ocean by rowing boat.

The elite crew, rowing a custom built 36ft long ocean rowing boat named ‘Aud Eamus’, set off from Geraldton, Western Australia on the 28 April 2009.  Having rowed a mammoth 3,132 nautical miles across the treacherous and unpredictable Indian Ocean, these audacious eight arrived today at Mauritius, after just 58 days, 15 hours and 08 minutes at sea, knocking an impressive six days off the previous route record.

The crew of eight comprising British nationals Simon Chalk (36), Ian Couch (39), Helen Taylor (22) and Paul Cannon (39), Americans Angela Madsen (49), Doug Tumminello (43), and Brian Flick (23), together with Bernard Fissett (46) from Belgium, were all recruited by nautical events company, Woodvale Challenge Ltd as part of the Woodvale Works Team concept.

Bringing a range of skills, adventure, ocean rowing and ultra endurance experience with them, the crew of Aud Eamus was assembled specifically with the aim of setting an Indian Ocean rowing crossing speed record.  Through their success in achieving this goal, they also claim a number of other Indian Ocean rowing records that include the first eight man crew, the first paraplegic (Angela Madsen), the first females (Angela Madsen and Helen Taylor) and the first person to row the Indian Ocean twice (Simon Chalk).

Then on June 26, a few minutes before midnight, this was announced:

After rowing a colossal 3,132 nautical miles, non-stop across the Indian Ocean, Britons Phil McCorry, (24), brother Nick McCorry (25), Matt Hellier (20) and Ian Allen (25), crew members of Boat No. 7 ‘Bexhill Trust Challenger’, made history today by winning the first ever Indian Ocean Rowing Race 2009.

Two months previously, these intrepid four life long friends from Bexhill, East Sussex set off from Geraldton, Western Australia together with nine other international crews in this unique, ultra-endurance, ocean adventure. 68 days, 19 hours and 40 minutes later, the Bexhill Trust Challenger, a 29ft long purposely designed composite ocean rowing boat, triumphantly crossed the finish line off the beautiful island of Mauritius at 2240hrs GMT today, Friday 26th June 2009.

By winning the Race, the crew of the Bexhill Trust Challenger have also become the first ever team of four to row across the Indian Ocean and crew member, Matt Hellier at the age of 20, is the youngest.

Meantime, at reporting in time about 6pm last night, third placed boat Pura Vida (the women’s four rowing for breast cancer) had 336 miles to go, while the Kiwi four Rowing For Prostate had 553

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JUNE 1: PROSTABLOG NZ:  British rowing four Bexhill Trust Challenger has about a third of the Indian Ocean Rowing Race to go and a lead of 140 miles over its nearest rival.

Second place-holder Aud Eamus – the only boat with a crew of eight – has made its way through the field over the past month and is hunting down Bexhill, with a close finish in the offing if the leading four can keep it up.

The close battle for third continues, with just a couple of miles separating women’s four Pura Vida and Kiwi four Rowing For Prostate. They’re slightly more than 100 miles behind Aud Eamus.

Row June1 1

Map above shows Bexhill in the lead at the top, with Pura Vida (green) and Rowing For Prostate (red, bottom) left in the wake of Aud Eamus (second).

Row June 1 2

When it last called in on Sunday, Bexhill had averaged 1.77 knots and rowed 22 miles in the preceding 24 hours. It had 1218 miles left to row in the 3132-mile slog to Mauritius from Western Australia, which the seven remaining boats last saw 43 days ago.

Aud Eamus is going slightly faster, averaging 1.98 knots and covering 39 miles in the day to 6pm today (June 1). It has 1358 miles to travel.

Pura Vida averaged 1.05 knots and travelled 21 miles in the day to 6pm today, leaving a distance of 1463, while Rowing For Prostate maintained the best speed (2.06 knots) and got over the biggest distance (46 miles) in the 24 hours to 6pm on Sunday. It has 1466 to go.

The other three boats are well back, and four withdrew long ago.

Row June 1 3

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MAY 19: PROSTABLOG NZ:  The northerly route they chose seems to have paid off for Indian Ocean Rowing Race leaders Bexhill Trust, who have moved ahead by 40 miles, despite recording the lowest mileage of all four leading crews in the last 24 hours.

Although the race website says they averaged 31398.07 knots over the day (obviously a typo), the Bexhill boys managed only 25 miles, compared with 36 by the women’s crew, Pura Vida, and 47 by fourth-placed eights crew, Au Eamus.

Best performer was the Kiwi Rowing For Prostate boat, which went a mile further, 48, and gained on the second-placed Pura Vida.

With the leading four (of seven) now days away from halfway, just 34 miles separate Prostate from Pura, with Aud Eamus back another 86.

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ODD-US-NEWZEALAND-KEY-ARMMAY 16: PROSTABLOG NZ:  An unexpected call from Kiwi PM John Key (right) to let the Rowing For Prostate team know how proud he is of them and to invite them to meet him on their return has spurred the team on in the Indian Ocean Rowing Race. 

The Prime Minister also offered the crew some advice on their watermaker problems, reports the race website: “It seems that even the Prime Minister of New Zealand has become an avid blob watcher! ”

Row4ProstateCrew

The team (shown in this Stuff.co.nz photograph before leaving to compete) remains in third place,

Long-time leaders Pura Vida, are now being chased down by earlier leaders Bexhill Trust Challenger, whose northerly route may be starting to pay off.

Bexhill has cut the women’s four lead from more than 100 miles to 69, the smallest it’s been for more than a week.

This despite Bexhill being hit by a freak giant wave that nearly knocked two crew members out of the boat.

While the Rowing for Prostate crew cross the Indian Ocean, Hamish Ladbroke – who had been part of the New Zealand team but was forced to pull out because his niece was suffering from cancer – has been rowing for two hours every day since the start of the race almost a month ago.

The race website says Hamish has been raising awareness of the Rowing for Prostate entry and much need funds for the charity by taking his rowing machine to the cold streets of Wanaka, near Queenstown.   He vows not to give up on his dry rowing challenge until he has reached the fund target of $10,000.

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