Statement by the founder of the Prostate Help Association.
Back in 1993 when the Prostate Help Association started it was not a charity. My wife and I put our own cash in the pot to pay for paper and equipment etc. We began to send out basic information about BPH to men who requested it. This demand grew, especially when we had a mention on the JIMMY YOUNG programme on BBC2 with a post bag of 2,000 letters. A few months later mentions in the Daily Mail and Daily Express at approx. the same time, inundated us with 6,000 letters requesting information.
We became 'charity' after about one year, in 1994, as I understood that we would attract funding from charities that gave other charities money, i.e. grant making charities. This proved fruitless in the main, as a large file of rejections shows. It also highlighted a possible future problem if one became dependent on such handouts as was shown in the press in July 2003 with charities that had been depending upon the Princess Diana Trust for funding, facing the possibility of extinction if, as was then possible, the handouts ceased.
We also thought that we would qualify for funding via the lottery. But two applications, which took much time and effort by ourselves and others involved also failed. Help from Government both Central and Local was also looked into and failed to elicit any helpful response.
I decided that the PHA would become self sufficient and men around the country and indeed abroad as well, found that our Newsletters proved helpful and were willing to pay out good money for their despatch.
Later successful trials of alternate products for the relief of prostate disease meant we could stock capsules which in some cases were not readily available (then) and which we could 'buy in' and offer at a discount to members and still make a profit.
All in all this modest trading and printing meant the PHA became totally self sufficient.
But we found that charities are limited in their trading abilities. They can trade but have to start up a separate company to trade and then that new company 'donates' all its profits to the PHA. A roundabout way, a diversion indeed, to get to the place one was already at !
Useless bureaucracy I feel. But the time and cost involvement to take this route produced a headache. It meant the new company needed separate accountancy and separate books. More paperwork.
It meant that every cheque received had to be divided between say, membership fee and the purchase of capsules. Does one bank all in the name of PHA and then write out a cheque to the trading arm or expect everyone to remember that two cheques are needed ? The potential for errors and the additional work involved loomed.
Such extra paperwork meant distraction from answering letters and the real work of getting information to men with prostate problems.
So it was decided in August 2003 to cease being a charity. Our work continued as it had over the previous ten years.
No change at all. Obviously we could no longer take charitable donations, or CAF cheques. Nor can we reclaim tax paid, from the tax authorities. But all this will in effect mean less paper work, less storage of forms and lower accountancy fees, than we currently have to adhere to. It will mean more time for me to spend on the real work we should be doing or even taking the occasional day off, shock horror !
Existing charity funds went to good works. Obviously as the funds belong to the charity and not to me they have to be used for the benefit of some prostate 'good'. Detail of that in the Prostate Focus. All existing PHA goods were purchased at market value and the money raised put into the charity account. The total some £40,000 went off to Stockport to fund a dedicated operating theatre for a new ultrasound treatment for prostate cancer.
So we will revert to the situation 'as was' when we began in 1993, with the benefit of a great deal of knowledge gained over the years.
Everyone will continue to benefit from the Prostate Focus, our help if in a quandary, or from the lowered costs of products that we have found over the years that have helped men with prostate disease.
We will continue to pass on information about new drugs to everyone, and new up and coming treatments to enable men to keep on top of their problems. Knowledge in this regard is so important. Believe me any medic worth his salt will be complementary about your interest and knowledge in regard to your BPH, prostate cancer, or prostatitis.
Such a medic will appreciate a one on one discussion with you if you have the information to discuss in depth your particular condition.
I have no way of knowing what new developments will occur over this next ten years. But if they are anything like the last ten they will be very interesting and mean vast strides in the treatment of our mutual diseases. Be assured the Prostate Focus will be able to keep you up-to-date with each new facet, each triumph and each let down.
Make sure that you are one of the men in the know and not someone who will be led into treatments which due to lack of knowledge they could regret at a later date.
As at the end of 2007 we are ceasing to publish by conventional means the Prostate Focus magazine.
All future comment and articles will appear, providing there is contined support for the material, on this site.
If you find any of the information of help a donation will help to support the continued publication.
You can donate via Paypal, or send a cheque to Prostate Help Association (2003) marked with Donation on the reverse.
PHA, LANGWORTH, LINCOLN, LN3 5DF.
The PHA have sent information to tens of thousands of enquiries, liased/given interviews with Radio producers including BBC Overseas; TV producers/researchers; with newspaper and freelance journalists. We were able to introduce them to prostate sufferers, or to provide them all with vital information to enable them to complete their prostate assignments.
Philip Dunn the founder of the PHA and editor of the quarterly Newsletter was described in Health Lines, the Health Educational Authorities magazine write up on prostate cancer as an expert. His expertise is available to you through his book Prostate Cancer and through the information articles on this site.
Send for our information and check out how others have managed, overcome, or learned to live with their prostate condition, be it prostatitis, prostate cancer or BPH.
Write snail mail to:- PHA(W), LANGWORTH, LINCOLN, LN3 5DF, UNITED KINGDOM,
for our initial information and more detail about the discounted products we have.
(Two 1st class stamps, or two international reply coupons would help keep our postal costs down).
Much of the general population still appears to think that any prostate disease is an "old mans' disease". The PHA knows from letters received that young men in their teens have prostatitis which can totally disrupt their social and working lives, and men in their 40's have and die from, prostate cancer. Even BPH, benign prostate enlargement, firmly classified in the publics mind as an old mans' disease, (do you need to be reminded of Private Godfrey in Dad's Army ?), affects tens of thousands of men still in their 50's. This 'brain washing' has meant that the majority of men under 60 totally ignore the symptoms of the disease and remain ignorant of its serious consequencies, 96% of men according to one Mori poll knew nothing at all about the prostate gland.
This lack of knowledge has meant that prostate disease is the Cinder-felladisease. The major operation to treat BPH and regarded as the 'Gold Standard' treatment, not cure you will note, was developed over seventy years ago and has hardly changed since, although it is true that the 'tools of the trade' have been and are being refined. New techniques are finding it very difficult to make a mark.
A mass educational effort is needed to alert the public to this underfunded disease. The PHA do their best but are held back by lack of funds. The U.K. government spends none of your money on education and virtually none on research. You can help by writing to your MP drawing his attention to the low priority accorded prostate disease.
Keeping in touch with this site will ensure you are fully aware of new developments.
Inclusion of links is NOT an endorsement by the Prostate Help Association, nor do we guarantee any information you will find, other than our own. We would remind everyone that they should discuss with their medical team all aspects of their condition and then come to a decision in regard to the best treatment for their condition.