Phil Morris MBE MV, the visionary behind Testicular Cancer UK (formerly Checkemlads.com), has an inspiring journey. A former British army soldier and regimental boxer with operational tours under his belt, Phil's path took an unexpected turn when he was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer non-seminoma in 2003. Despite initial misdiagnosis as an infection, an ultrasound revealed a tumour within his swollen testicle.
Following the removal of the testicle, Phil underwent the rigorous BEP chemotherapy treatment – a challenging experience familiar to those who've undergone it. Amid his battle, Phil noticed a striking lack of support and awareness, especially for young men. In an era where the internet was still finding its footing, established cancer charities offered little solace to his demographic, often perpetuating a "toughen up" mentality. The aftermath of chemo left Phil grappling with depression for about a year.
His desire was simple yet profound: a fellow survivor to confide in, ask candid questions like "Is extreme fatigue normal during chemo?" or "Why do I feel so low today?" – a simple conversation that could have made a world of difference.
Testicular cancer, while highly survivable, burdens young men with concerns about fertility, long-term check-ups, body image, and the impact on relationships. The specter of a cancer recurrence also looms large.
Phil embarked on a mission to tackle these challenges by promoting early detection and, more crucially, extending a supportive hand to recently diagnosed men and their families. Amid his own chemotherapy journey, he founded Checkemlads.com. Astonishingly, this grassroots initiative, nurtured with his personal funds for the initial 9 years, mushroomed over time. Now, it's nurtured by dedicated survivors who offer advice, home and hospital visits, helpline services, and frequent gatherings. The invaluable contributions of mothers, wives, and partners enrich the private support group.
Phil's focus lies in making an impact rather than accumulating funds. His commitment is clear: "The day I prioritize the bank balance over lending a hand is the day I surrender."
In an unfortunate twist, Phil's cancer resurfaced in 2015, this time more menacing than before. Multiple golf ball-sized tumours emerged behind his stomach, necessitating four grueling rounds of EP chemotherapy over four months.
Phil Morris MBE MV's odyssey is one of resilience, empathy, and empowerment, a testament to the indomitable spirit of one man dedicated to transforming the lives of those navigating the turbulent waters of testicular cancer.
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."