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Testicular cancer survivor backs Norfolk brewery's January campaign

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Just days after being given the all clear following cancer treatment, a Norfolk man has supported a brewery's testicular cancer awareness campaign.

Cillian Nugent of Egmere, who has just turned 30, was travelling in Australia when he first noticed a lump.

He said: "I was in Australia travelling with my girlfriend when I felt a lump which I went to get checked out.

Cillian Nugent raises an alarm to start the January campaign with his Dad Nigel and David Holliday of Moon Gazer ales (left). Picture: SUBMITTED
Cillian Nugent raises an alarm to start the January campaign with his Dad Nigel and David Holliday of Moon Gazer ales (left). Picture: SUBMITTED

"When they tell you that you have cancer it is such a shock. I guess I am the same as any chap in their twenties, we feel invincible-well this quickly makes you realise that you are not."

After being provided with excellent care and treatment, Mr Nugent was given the all clear.

However, this proved to be short-lived as a routine follow-up showed the cancer had returned and spread to his lungs, lymph nodes and back.

He said: “We decided to cut short the trip and return to the UK for the extensive chemotherapy treatment. It was tough physically and emotionally but you just realise that the alternative is far worse.”

And now having been fully cleared, Mr Nugent is supporting the Moon Gazer ale team's campaign which aims to get men talking about the disease which is one of the biggest killers of young males in the UK each year.

The Norfolk-based brewery create a unique beer each in January in support of the Norwich-based testicular cancer charity It's On The Ball.

This year will be the biggest campaign yet with over 125 pubs serving the beer called Tobi's Tipple, Fred's Check.

Brewery co-owner David Holliday said: “The support from the pubs is fantastic and really helps to get men chatting about what is a bit of a sensitive topic.

"To have Cillian be part of this year’s campaign is so positive, as it will help us get over the positive message that 98 per cent of this cancer can be cured if it is diagnosed early enough.

“All too often that is not the case, and young men needlessly die, as was highlighted last year when we named the beer Fred’s Check after Fred Riseborough who sadly was taken by the cruel disease at just 24-years-old.

“When we first learned that Cillian had been diagnosed, we were shocked and concerned. He was well known to the brewery as he worked in a couple of our customer’s bars, that’s why getting the message out there is so important.”

To kick-start the January campaign, Mr Nugent sounded a World War II air raid siren to announce the end of his treatment accompanied by his Dad Nigel and Mr Holliday.

Mr Nugent said: "Rather than ring the traditional ‘all clear bell’ at the end of the treatment I thought I would use the air raid syren on top of the Control Tower Bed and Breakfast, on the former RAF North Creake Airfield, which is run by my mum Clare and dad Nigel.

"I wanted to be as loud as I could and boy did it feel great."

He continued: "When David called me up and asked if I could join the campaign I didn't think twice.

"After all we are trying to do such a simple thing: get blokes chatting.

"If, simply by having a beer men and women ask the simple question about the beer and then about men's balls-then we are well on the road to saving lives."

The team of trustees at It's On the Ball are all survivors of testicular cancer, and the 2020 edition of the beer Fred's Check will be available in pubs throughout January.

Speaking about It's On the Ball, Mr Holliday said: "Rather than walk away and say thanks very much after their own successful treatment, they tirelessly dedicate their time to telling other men about the importance of checking themselves monthly to look for early symptoms."

Mr Holliday will be hoping to raise further awareness and funds for the charity in April when he undertakes a challenging task.

He will attempt to push a barrel of beer from the brewery near Fakenham to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

For further information on the testicular cancer charity go to https://itsontheball.org/.

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