“Men go to the doctor a lot less. We just think it’ll go away” Paul Dear explained. “There are no regular checkups for prostate cancer like women get for breast or cervical cancer.”
Paul is retired from Avon and Somerset police force in Bath and put off consulting a GP because he assumed his tiredness, backache and urinary problems were down to his age and doing manual labour at home.
“When I got the actual diagnosis, it was not a surprise anymore”. “I had done the research, and I knew what it was by then. They were just confirming it. I wanted to know where to go from there.
“A week or so after the diagnosis I managed to get my grown-up son and daughter together over a cup of tea one afternoon, and broke my news to them.”
Over the course of his chemotherapy, Paul has got in touch with other men with prostate cancer, some are also former police officers. “We have a dark humour. Together we can joke about the cancer. It has always been our way of coping with the seriousness of the job.”
Because there is no checkup for men, it can take a long time until a cancer gets detected. In Paul’s case, the cancer had already spread to his hips, bones and shoulders and he had to go through four months of chemotherapy.
Paul along with his daughter Laura and son Adam was taking part in a cycle ride for Prostate Cancer UK, called Football to Amsterdam which he did the previous year, however Paul lost his battle just two days before the ride so did not see his Son and Daugher complete the ride.
Adam and Laura decided that they would continue to ride for their dad in his memory, they have both shown emense strengh and courage to do so, this is a great testament to their dad.
Paul Dear’s legacy encourages others to join forces to continue spreading the word.
Maggie, Paul’s wife pays heartbreaking tribute after he loses his battle to Cancer
Those were the heartbreaking tributes from Maggie, who lost her husband Paul Dear yesterday (Wednesday, May 30) after a brave battle with cancer.
Paul, who served for 29 years as a police officer in south Bristol, where he grew up, was surrounded by his family when he died at home.
The 61-year-old had dedicated his life to the people of his home city, and in retirement, became a vocal campaigner against the illness which took his life.
Raising thousands of pounds for charity Prostate Cancer UK, Paul saved the lives of numerous men who discovered they had cancer in the early stages.
“He always said he would die with it, not of it,” Maggie said.
Tributes have flooded in since his death, with dozens taking to social media as a mark of respect for the well-loved bobby.
He leaves behind his mum Rosemary, his wife Maggie, children Laura and Adam, and two brothers and a sister.
‘Kind, caring, compassionate’
Paul was well-known in Hartcliffe, where he grew up. After joining the police force, he served as a neighbourhood officer for many years, walking the beat in South Bristol.
It was during his time as a constable that he got to know many people on the street, including residents and business owners.
To those he knew, he was always “kind, caring and compassionate”, his wife Maggie said. They met more than 10 years ago and got married in November last year. “As a partner and husband, he was always thoughtful and kind,” Maggie added.
“It was like all marriages – he could be exasperating at times, but he was always my best mate and someone a lot of people could rely on.
“He was my rock through some difficult times and I miss him loads.”
Maggie had lost her daughter to cancer shortly before meeting Paul, and he became a pillar of support to her family and her.
“Paul grounded me and was my comfort. We went through some tough times together, but I knew he always rooted for me.
“I would say Paul saw himself as an ordinary bloke trying to get through life, doing his best by everybody.
“He stayed true to himself, was steadfast and honest. That was our Paul.”
“He was very close to his family and loved us a lot. He was just an amazing man. I loved him because he was a straight-forward guy. There was no complication with him. Above all, he was caring.”
The couple did not expect to hear that Paul had cancer when he started having problems going to the toilet.
He had felt some ache in his legs and back while he was building an extension to his house, but thought it the norm.
Sadly, in October 2016, doctors diagnosed him with advanced prostate cancer. It had spread into his bones and legs, and there was little chance of recovery.
For Paul, it would be the start of hugely vocal campaign for men to check themselves for prostate cancer.
Starting with those close to him, and spreading further afield, numerous men who heeded his advice managed to catch the cancer at its early stages, saving their lives.
On his fundraising page, Paul wrote: “It cannot be cured or eradicated, it’s here and here it will stay. It is too late to change my fate.
“But it doesn’t have to be this way for other men. With greater awareness amongst men, this cancer can often be caught early.
“If caught at an early stage, then there are options. Often men can have the cancer removed entirely and live cancer free.”
Maggie said: “He was determined he would die with it, rather than of it. He spoke about it a lot. His first target was his family and friends, and then to anyone out there.
“He would encourage everyone to get tested, and some of those he spoke to came back and said they had caught it early.
“In many ways, he helped save their lives. It was the main thing for him after he retired.”
Sadly for Paul, he went back into hospital on Easter Sunday after coming back from another fundraising event.
Last Saturday, he was released from hospital and went back to be with those closest to him.
Legacy is about life and living. It’s about learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future. The idea of legacy may remind us of death, however, when Ian Duffield and I visited Paul a few weeks ago he said to us “I don’t want your sympathy, just tell your friends if you don’t get yourself checked you could be laying in a bed like this”.
Paul Dear – You legend