Headmaster runs multiple marathons post-surgery for TUF

When life-long music fan and primary school head teacher Andy Conlon read that his idol, the guitarist Jim Cregan, had prostate cancer, little did he know his life was about to dramatically change too.

After reading what had happened to his idol, father-of two Andy asked his GP for a blood test.

Shortly afterwards he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Andy, 54, who is married to Jane and has two children, Jake, 15 and Ella, 13 and a stepson Paul, 25, said: “I had no symptoms but I asked my GP for a blood test because I’d read that Rod Stewart’s former guitarist Jim Cregan had prostate cancer and was urging men in their 50s to get themselves tested.

“I’m a huge fan so I had the test and my PSA was high. Within a month I’d been diagnosed with quite advanced prostate cancer. It was a shock because there is no family history and I’ve always kept fit and led a healthy lifestyle.”

Andy, from Hull, met TUF-funded scholar Matthew Simms at the Castle Hill Hospital who explained treatment options to him. 

“I decided to have robotic assisted surgery when my surgeon, Matthew Simms, explained the advantages”, said Andy. “My aim was to be back at work within three weeks, walk the York 10 mile race within a month and run a 10k within eight weeks. And I achieved it!

“I was back at home the next day and recovered within three weeks. With traditional open surgery, I would have been in hospital for 10 days and taken 8 or 9 weeks to recover..”

Andy then decided he wanted to fundraise for The Urology Foundation after talking to his surgeon, Matthew Simms. 

 “Andy had been treated robotically for prostate cancer and told me he wanted to raise some money for charity” said Matthew.

“I suggested he raise money for The Urology Foundation because the charity has done so much to promote robotic surgery. The Urology Foundation have been instrumental in funding robotic training programmes across the UK.

“I also personally benefitted from a TUF research fellowship grant which ultimately enabled me to become a specialist registrar with an interest in pelvic surgery. 

“Research funded by The Urology Foundation has benefitted patients like Andy.”

Andy decided to undertake a series of running challenges to raise funds for TUF. These included The Manchester marathon in April, the Hull marathon in September and the York marathon in October. He also ran two half marathons, three 10k runs and a 10-mile run. 

He said: “When I realised the type of work The Urology Foundation does and the lack of awareness it receives I felt I really wanted to do something in return. This work is absolutely vital.” 


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