Phil morris MBE
Phil Morris MBE MV is the founder of testicular cancer UK ( formally Checkemlads.com ). A former British army soldier who was a boxer for his regiment and did operational tours.
He was first diagnosed with Testicular cancer non-seminoma in 2004 and was told he had an infection. His swollen testicle did not respond to antibiotics and eventually, the testicle was given an ultrasound scan which confirmed a tumour inside the testicle.
After removing the testicle Phil had to have chemotherapy BEP treatment and anyone who has been on this regime will tell you it's not easy.
Phil although he knew had a good chance of survival found that there was no support or even real awareness at the time. The internet was in its infancy and found that most cancer support charities mostly had no real support for young men. The attitude of "man up" and this is the cancer to have was what he found to be prominent. Phil really struggled through chemo and got depressed for a good year after.
All he wanted was to chat to someone who had been through it, and ask questions such as " am I meant to feel this tired on chemo", and " I'm feeling really down today". Just a chat might have helped.
Testicular cancer is very survivable but most young men diagnosed have the worry of becoming a dad, check up's and scans for many years, and feeling less like a man because he's lost a testicle, how will partners or future relationships be? , BUT most live in fear of cancer coming back!
Phil wanted to try in some small way to address this by raising awareness of finding testicular cancer early but most importantly offering some sort of support to men and their families who have just been diagnosed.
He set up Checkemlads.com while still on chemo and was surprised to find that there were many men who had had testicular cancer feeling very low and struggling sometimes years after treatment. He has always worked a normal daytime job using almost all of his own money for the first 9 years to run the campaign.
It grew over many years and it's now manned by dedicated survivors who offer advice, and do home and hospital visits. Man the advice line and have meet up's often. There are also many mums, wives and partners helping with advice in the private group.
Phil concentrates on helping and making a difference rather than fund-raising, checking the emails and questions about testicular cancer is most important rather than trying to get funds in.
" the day I ignore requests for advice and help because I'm too busy worrying about the bank balance is the day I give up"
Phil's cancer returned in 2015 and unfortunately, it was far worse than his original cancer. 5 golf ball size tumours were found behind his stomach and he had to go on 4 rounds of EP chemo over 4 months.
More chemo has left him a bit disabled now for the rest of his life but is still dedicated and will still try to help anyone.
Phil was awarded an MBE in the queen's birthday honours list in 2021. He didn't reply to it as he thought it was a "wind up" but eventually he realised it was real and is very humbled to be recognised for his efforts.
He has dedicated it to all the men and women who have helped him over the years and of course to the lads he got to know who passed away because of testicular cancer.
Some survivors actually call him the patron saint of testicular cancer.
"I meet new wonderful people everyday doing this."