OctoBeardFest day 30 (journal)

Well it's day 30 of OctoBeardFest. The final push...

Here's me at lunchtime today with some fairly respectable growth. Tomorrow is the very last day, and I'd love to get a few more donations to get to my target. This weekend will be the great unbearding so this is the last chance to get a donation in.

Here's a message from Tim Sharp, one of the Trustees of the Prostate Project, the charity I'm fundraising for, from 3 days ago:

"It's like a mini 'Movember' but for beards not moustaches. The big difference is that at least 96 pence of every pound you donate will go straight to the point of need. In our case, the brilliant cancer research team at the the University of Surrey who we have jointly funded from day one. They desperately need more funds to further their pioneering work in vaccine, genes and viral therapy and also to initiate more trials for EN2 - a protein discovered in urine that can detect cancer cells 50% more accurately than the 30 year old PSA test.

On August 23, OctoBeardfest was just an idea. Now we have hundreds of men growing beards for us in the UK and beyond. Our Charity, the Prostate Project, is run entirely by volunteers and has administration costs below 4%. Over the last 15 years we have raised over £6 million. Now there are just 4 days of the Appeal to go. We have raised £34,000 in just 27 days. An astonishing amount of money and beyond my wildest dreams. With your help and others like you, we may even hit £40,000. 

Thank you so much to those of you who have already donated.

Best wishes
Tim Sharp (Trustee)"

So please, please, please, donate if you can spare a couple of quid. This will be the last of me trying to get money out of my friends by the way. This kind of thing is a bit unsavoury but I did it this one time in memory of my dad who died two years ago from prostate cancer. Please visit my Just Giving page for more information and to make a donation.


Day 30: OctoBeardFest

OctoBeardFest day 13 (journal, photo)

OctoBeardFest. Day 13 of my valiant fundraising effort in memory of my father who died from prostate cancer in October 2011.

My jowls and wattle are really beginning to get accentuated. Lots of salt and pepper too. Also, very patchy, in a pattern that reveals, to an expert, the specific nature of my genetic deficiencies.

I'm raising money for researchers at the University of Surrey who I work with. I know they're really on to something with pioneering new immunotherapy and viral therapy treatments. So if you haven't yet, please find out more and donate on my fundraising page. Ta.

OctoBeardFest day 13

Whoop-di-doo. I'm growing a beard for Octobeardfest 2013

My father died from prostate cancer in October 2011 after a terrible illness that lasted six years. In remembrance, I am participating in OctoBeardFest - growing your beard in the month of October to help raise funds and awareness for cancer research.

Now, I don't want you to give me money just because I'm not shaving for a month – which is great for me of course - but because this is really important for everyone and you really can make a difference; you can help develop revolutionary new treatments for cancer and help save thousands of lives.

In my day job, I fundraise for the cancer research team at the University of Surrey. I have already raised £38,000 for them this year from charitable trusts and foundations and will go on doing this because they need a lot more to continue their research.

I want to support them personally too and at the same time help to raise awareness of the amazing work they are doing. Prostate cancer is already the most common cancer in men and given our aging population it is predicted to become the most common cancer of all in the UK by 2030. It's as big an issue for men as breast cancer is for women yet it receives just a fraction of the money for research.

I believe the University of Surrey team is doing work that will affect all our lives, potentially developing effective treatments for all types of cancer.

If you want to take the time to read it, below is a summary of the groundbreaking work the cancer research team at Surrey are doing. This video by the team leaders, Professor Hardev Pandha and Dr Richard Morgan gives some good background.

If not, then please just donate £5 or whatever you want on my Justgiving page and I will absolutely make sure it is used to really make a difference. Thanks. 

Day 3, Octobeardfest. Not much to show yet.

With over 913,000 new cases recorded worldwide in 2008, prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in men. Until now it has been a challenge to reliably and accurately diagnose prostate cancer. Although the current standard Prostate Specific Antigen test (PSA) remains an important and useful test for prostate cancer, its use is limited as PSA levels can also increase in non-cancerous conditions of the prostate.

The cancer research group at the University of Surrey is on the front line of research. They have had great success in developing a diagnostic test for prostate cancer - a new, far more reliable and more accurate way of detecting prostate cancer than the current PSA test.

The Surrey group’s findings have been published in two high profile papers and have received widespread publicity in the media.

The new test is based on the discovery that a protein called engrailed-2 (EN2) is present in most prostate cancers and that prostate cancer cells secrete EN2 into urine. EN2 is made by cancer cells (and not nearby normal cells) and is displayed at high levels on the cell surface, meaning that EN2 is an ideal target for various cancer treatments and further diagnostic imaging.

For example, it may be possible to use antibodies that have been altered to recognise EN2 to look for prostate cancer that has escaped the confines of the prostate gland, and also direct high doses of a very specific treatment exclusively to cancer cells. The team is also looking at other unique ways of using the body’s own defenses and viral therapies to target all types of cancer.

No other research group is looking at EN2 in this way. Furthermore, the Surrey team has found that most common cancers make EN2, raising the possibility of a universal treatment across a broad range of cancers.

Remember, please donate £5 or whatever you can on my Justgiving page and I will absolutely make sure it is used to really make a difference. Thanks again.  

A message to myself from a year ago via Photojojo Time Capsule

Wimbledon Stadium, 7.52am
Three wooden posts, Tooting Bec Common
Campus life: vent fluff
Daily commute: driving into rain on the A3

Photos I took a year ago, via Photojojo Time Capsule. A nice reminder of where you were and what you were photographing a year ago via an email with photos pulled in from your flickr account. I find it interesting to see how my technique has evolved, and hopefully improved, and also interesting to see how my subjects have changed.

Sign up  for your own time capsule with your with your email & Flickr account. Photojojo also has lots of nice gadgets and goodies for photographers in their store, from lenses and cases for iPhones to useful rigs for your DSLR and lots in between. Just because it’s a nice object, I’m thinking about getting the DIY twin lens camera kit.

Video: Driving 29 miles in 6 minutes, from Streatham to Guildford

video  I made recently of my daily commute through Streatham, Tooting, Wimbledon and at 3:08 a really high-speed section on the A3 through Surrey to Guildford. (By high speed, I mean, the video has been speeded up! The usual journey time for this 29 mile trip is anywhere between forty-five minutes to an hour and a half).

This is the second of these videos I’ve made.

The first was of my drive home from my previous jobwhich was in Clerkenwell in Central London. Quite a difference in that this first journey is all on city streets and is very stop / start thanks to the heavy traffic and the number of junctions and traffic lights.