Lloyd champions our new mobile chemotherapy unit

Lloyd Pinder looks the picture of health, but in January 2016 he learned that he had incurable prostate cancer. A busy insurance broker, Lloyd, 45, had had some symptoms but examinations and tests had shown nothing suspicious and he did not fit the usual profile of someone with prostate cancer.

It was only when the father of two underwent blood tests that his condition was uncovered. “I went to see a Doctor at York Hospital,” says Lloyd. “He came in the room with nurses and I just knew it was bad news.

“They said ‘yes, you have cancer. You have advanced prostate cancer’. I was thinking to myself, wow, but, you know, with treatment you can live a happy, healthy, normal life.

“But then he said it was out of the prostate and it was terminal – you can imagine how I felt. I asked, ‘How long have I got?’ and they said it could be five years, it could be ten.”

Lloyd’s has had chemotherapy, is undergoing radiotherapy and will receive an ongoing three-monthly anti-testosterone treatment. When his treatment is complete he will be on six-monthly checks to monitor his illness, which he confesses is hard to take in when he continues to feel well.

“My more romantic side is hoping that this is some kind of ‘You’ve Been Framed’ type send-up, and that at the end someone is going to say, ‘You fell for it – you don’t have prostate cancer.’ But I know that I have got it and I am remaining positive. I have everything to live for, a great family, great friends, great work and I don’t want for anything. Sometimes I get annoyed that I don’t feel ill. I am convinced that some people think I am putting it on!”

Lloyd knows through personal experience the difference our new mobile chemotherapy unit could make. Living near South Milford, chemotherapy means a round trip of about 50 miles for him each time – but he feels more strongly about the impact on others less able than himself.

“It struck a nerve when I was doing my third lot of treatment at York,” said Lloyd, who’s married to Tina and has daughters Gracie, seven, and Lola, three.

“I sat next to an elderly lady. She was a real character, really cheerful, but she was having to travel in from miles out in the sticks, somewhere near Scarborough. I got to thinking, ‘That’s one and a half hours each way, three hours out of her life that she could be spending closer to home with  her friends and family.’

“I think it’s brilliant that York Against Cancer has got this money together for this unit to go out to people who shouldn’t be spending their time travelling, when time is so precious.”

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which will run the mobile chemotherapy unit, estimates that the unit will treat up to 2000 adult patients a year from across North and East Yorkshire.

Lloyd is convinced that it will make a huge difference to people in the outlying areas of York, North and East Yorkshire. He thinks that too often cancer is ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and that the mobile unit will remind people that cancer is among us all and it is not going away.

Lloyd’s youngest daughter Lola is oblivious to the events of this year, but Gracie is aware. He describes his wife Tina as being ‘strong, really strong’.

“We have just got our heads down and got on with it,” he says. “I am very, very proud of what we have achieved. The kids are IVF children so we have been very, very lucky to have them. It’s now all about planning for their future, to make sure they have the start in life that we didn’t have, and to focus on the time that we have left together.

“At 45, I have done a lot. I’ve travelled to Australia, South Africa, Japan, Sri Lanka, Singapore. I look around and I think I have not done badly, and I am very, very grateful for what I have had.”

Lloyd is determined to stay positive. He and his friends and relatives have already raised thousands for cancer charities through sporting and social events such as a walk, a golf day and the recent Big Brash Ball at Tadcaster, which alone raised over £10,000.

Next year, his is considering getting a team together to do the Grand Depart for the Tour De France, which for 2017 begins in Dusseldorf and he continues to have a positive approach to his situation.

“I think we don’t know enough about the body. It’s such a complex thing, and I think there’s a lot to be said for a positive mental attitude. I’ve always been a positive guy and I am optimistic that there is going to be a cure. And if there is, I want to be the poster boy for saying: ‘Look, this is what can be achieved.’ ”