Not many people can say that beer saved their life, but for Drayton resident Alan Pickering it may well have done just that!
While enjoying a pint of charity beer Tobi’s Tipple Special Edition at the Bob Carter Centre last summer, Alan was reading the associated It’s On The Ball leaflet and it dawned on him that he was suffering from some of the symptoms of testicular cancer.
Alan said: “The It’s On The Ball information, provided by The Norfolk Brewhouse with their particularly fine Tobi’s Tipple, prompted me to think that something wasn’t right. This opinion was subsequently confirmed by those infinitely more qualified than me, and although the effects of the operation and follow up treatment weren’t particularly nice, my cancer was detected and treated at Stage 1, the earliest and most survivable of four. As a consequence of this, my prognosis is very good.
“Some people I speak to regarding my experience seem to be very uncomfortable and embarrassed about the subject. Please try and get over this; I don’t like to think where I would be today if I’d been too embarrassed to visit my GP.”
Alan contacted The Norfolk Brewhouse following his experience and literally said: “Did you know your beer saves lives?” So, joining forces again with Norwich-based charity It’s On The Ball, and with support from more than 70 pubs and clubs across Norfolk, Tobi’s Tipple Special Edition is back on bars throughout January to continue raising awareness of testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer amongst young men as well as a difficult subject to get men talking about. So creating a special beer, with the support of pubs, seemed like the perfect combination to increase awareness and conversations, whilst also encouraging people into their local in January, often one of the toughest months in a pub’s year.
Tobi is the charity’s pants wearing logo – an anagram of IOTB, the initials of It’s On The Ball. His oversized y-fronts have been seen at many events, increasing the awareness of the charity and its basic message for men to check themselves monthly. A ‘Pants Wall of Fame’ is a feature on the IOTB website and it is hoped that many more pictures will be added to this during the campaign.
It’s On The Ball was established in 2013 by a group of testicular cancer patients, their families and NHS staff, to help raise awareness and provide support to patients who have been diagnosed. Chairman of the charity, Vince Wolverson, said: “We really appreciate the support given to us by Rachel, David, and all the staff at The Norfolk Brewhouse. Not only are they helping us to raise awareness across the county, but as we have seen in Alan’s case, helping to save lives too. This is a great example of a small business and charity working together to benefit community welfare.”
Norfolk Brewhouse brewer and co-owner David Holliday, said: “To us, supporting It’s On The Ball is a no brainer, by spreading a simple message we can all easily help save lives.
“While incredibly heartening to know that we made a difference to Alan’s life, it also shows the simplicity of what we are trying to do – just spread the word. We do the easy bit, we just brew the beer and deliver, the pubs do the nice bit, they get to serve the beer and chat to their community – the real hard work is done by the small and totally dedicated team at It’s on the Ball – who with limited resources do all they can to help raises awareness of this killer disease.”
Ron Halliday at the Bob Carter Centre added: “We are delighted to support this charity once again, especially because the excellent work it does probably saved the life of one of ours members. We also plan to donate £1 for every pint of Tobi’s Tipple that we sell.”
It’s On The Ball recommend that men check themselves monthly for abnormalities – 98% of testicular cancers can be successfully treated if they are detected in their early stages. For more information about testicular cancer and It’s On The Ball visit www.itsontheball.org.
Follow, support and raise awareness for It’s On The Ball and Tobi’s Tipple Special Edition on Facebook: It’s On The Ball and Norfolk Brewhouse pages; Twitter ItsOnTheBall and MoonGazerAle feeds.
Alan Pickering with Ron Halliday from the Bob Carter Centre and representatives from It’s On The Ball and The Norfolk Brewhouse.
Alan Pickering with the beer he credits with saving his life
Tobi’s Tipple beer alongside the On the Ball charity collection pot.