18 October 2016

I do Movember because my Dad no longer can. As he fought prostate cancer, I fought to make sure that other men would survive. 

Alice Dorrington: I Mo for my Dad
Real Stories
3 MIN READ
I will never forget the phone call. 

Dad had been rushed in to hospital the day before with what turned out to be extreme water retention, which in itself was not too unnerving. It was the question of why his body was retaining water that triggered a warning signal to us.

I was sitting in the kitchen when Dad called with the results. 

"Al, I need to talk to Mum."

He didn't need to say any more. I knew.

"It's cancer isn't it?"

I was 17 when I was told by my wonderful father that he was going to lose his life to prostate cancer.

I always imagined that receiving the news of a loved one being diagnosed with cancer would be followed by tears, panic, fear, anger and upset, and though all of these emotions were experienced at varying points after Dad's diagnosis, they were secondary to a prevailing feeling of determination to fight the disease – both physically and emotionally.

Dad wholeheartedly believed that the only way to defeat the cancer was to never let it defeat his spirit. His ferocious attitude towards the disease was a sight to behold and a true inspiration of how I too could approach his illness. We decided not to focus on the looming tragedy, but instead work together to build a legacy in the name of Rick Dorrington. This is the point at which we discovered Movember. 

Movember's playful approach to tackling serious issues head-on resonated with both Dad and myself. We put our thinking caps on: how could we get involved?

Dad and I decided to campaign in partnership. He spoke about his illness and I spoke about the effect that prostate cancer was having on my family, and me as a teenage girl. It became an entirely unique take on fundraising and Dad and I were thrilled to see the donations and humbling comments stack up. 

As the years of living with cancer rolled on, so did our Movember efforts. We arranged a lavish laddish lottery with only elite prizes, Dad arranged Mo poker nights, I held beer pong tournaments, we asked friends to host quiz nights, and vintage clothes fairs, we made campaign videos, we poured our hearts out. We did everything within our power while we could to be a dad and daughter duo making a difference to the world around them.

And then, on the 14 April 2014, Dad was suddenly gone.

Losing him was categorically the worst day of my life. I had lost my very best friend, my rock, my comrade. But you know what? Without the groundbreaking medical research funded by Movember I would have lost him several years earlier. So rather than giving in to grief I knew that I had to take on the challenge that Dad and I had started together, on my own. I owed it to him and the charity.

My mission was not dimmed or dulled, it was only heightened. It became my way of coping with grief and has remained that way ever since. Why do I Mo? I Mo in Dad’s name. I Mo because Dad no longer can. In the same way that Dad refused to give in to the disease, I refuse to give up on the goal of changing the fate of other fathers and daughters.

Alice Dorrington, Mo Sista since 2010
Visit Alice's fundraising page

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