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Breaking the silence: meet the runner empowering Afro-Caribbean men to talk to their GP about health concerns

Granville Campbell is rallying Afro-Caribbean men to prioritise health conversations with their GPs, as he gears up for his 16th Great Manchester Run in support of The Christie
Granville Campbell Great Manchester Run

59-year-old Granville Campbell is taking part in The Great Manchester Run 2024 on Sunday 26th May to raise money for The Christie Charity and to encourage more Afro-Caribbean men that ‘it’s good to talk’ to their GPs about any medical issues they might have.

Manchester born and bred, Granville was brought up in Old Trafford and now lives in Stretford.

His older brother Eric was diagnosed with the very rare penile cancer in 2021 and was treated at The Christie hospital before he died last October.

There’s still time to sign up to the Great Manchester Run 2024 – you can do so by clicking here

Granville Campbell’s mission

“My brother could have, and would have, received an earlier diagnosis if he had been brave enough to seek doctors’ advice at the first sign of any health-related illness,” said Granville, “but he chose to stay quiet and was suffering over a period of time.

Unaware, his symptoms at the time were slowly escalating he felt unable to open up and get medical advice.

He eventually made an appointment with the doctor. After examination,

Eric was diagnosed with a form of cancer that had taken hold so much that he was given less than 12 months to live.

Helping Manchester’s Afro-Carribean community

“The Afro-Caribbean community, especially the men, do not speak of such things unless they are pushed into it by a family member or loved one.

“I now know that Eric would still be here if he had spoken out and sought help in the early stages of his cancer diagnosis, where he was a patient at The Christie until his passing. Taking part in this year’s Great Manchester Run in support of The Christie Charity is in his memory, and to highlight the message to all men to feel empowered – help is out there if we talk.”

Take part in the Great Manchester Run 2024

An annual event, this year’s Great Manchester Run will be Granville’s 16th, although running was not his first love.

Granville had always kept himself fit at the gym, playing basketball and football, but in 2007 he found out he had a slipped disc, and was unable to continue all the gym work and sports that he’d previously enjoyed.

So, he started running to keep fit, which coincided with starting a new job. His new employers annually entered a team into the Great Manchester Run, so Granville joined the team and started preparation for his first ever run.

He says: “Initially I wanted to support a spinal support charity, due to my sporting injury, but at this same time my mother was receiving some treatment at The Christie hospital for a brain tumour. It was then my love for the work The Christie was doing hit home to me, and I decided to give something back by fundraising.

“I was hearing quite a lot about the Great Manchester Run, and after taking part in my first event, seeing so many fellow runners of all ages, shapes and sizes and all running in support of their chosen charities, telling their individual stories for participating gave me the bug.”

Many of Granville’s friends do park runs most weeks, so he was encouraged to plan a set training route of approximately 7K around the streets of Stretford, which sets him up to complete his yearly 10K run.

“I am a massive Manchester City fan,” he enthused. “

“My street name, amongst many, is ‘Champ’. Living 10 mins away from the ‘arch enemy’, Manchester United means I have many sporting friends on both sides who actively support my cause fundraising for The Christie Charity year after year, as they too have fond appreciation for the great work it carries out in our community each and every day.

Carryduff Man Utd Supporters Club

“One of my biggest supporters is the Carryduff Man Utd Supporters Club from Northern Ireland. I got to know them over 15 years ago, as they would park up and have a drink pre and post-match at a hotel I did part time work for.

“They were never made aware I was a Man City fan until many years afterwards, they assumed I was like them, a United fan working at the hotel on match days.

“John White, their Club Secretary I know personally, and I have been ‘unofficially’ inducted as part of the Carryduff family, and accepted John’s invitation joining them in Belfast for their 20-year anniversary of the supporter’s club.

“Jo Lillie, the Branch Treasurer, co-ordinates a collection amongst the club members each year, and personally delivers on the final home fixture each season, which contributes towards my fundraising target, prior to taking part in the 10K run.

“Many friends, family, colleagues, and ex-colleagues all have a special affinity for The Christie and The Christie Charity, through family members receiving treatment. From my own personal perspective – as well as my late mother and older brother Eric – my younger brother Steve was also diagnosed with myeloma cancer in 2021. Thankfully, he has been in remission for the last four years.

“It’s good to talk”

“The personal satisfaction I receive each year is probably the main reason I keep plodding the streets and fundraising. I have a special message to highlight this year – ‘it’s good to talk’ – and if I can use my support for such a wonderful organisation as The Christie Charity to get the message out there to help others, then I’m all for it, for as long as I’m able to do so.”

Ronnie Hunte Great Manchester Run 2024

Granville’s message has already struck a chord with a close family friend of his, Ronnie Hunte after he had attended Granville’s brother Eric’s funeral last October.

“Ronnie heard my concerns about men not carrying out self-help when it comes to their health, and he eventually plucked up the courage and went for a PSA test. Unfortunately, his results came back with a positive trace for prostate cancer, but being diagnosed so early means that Ronnie can return to full health after his course of treatment, which he recently started at The Christie in Oldham.”

Abbie Wick, sporting events officer at The Christie Charity

Abbie Wick, sporting events officer at The Christie Charity said, “Granville’s message ‘it’s good to talk’ is such an important one for us all. His relentless fundraising for The Christie Charity has been so impressive and we all wish him all the very best of luck for this year’s Great Manchester Run 2024.”

To donate to Granville’s JustGiving Page click here

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