Jack Payne, 78, has been through cancer treatment and has plenty of praise for the local branch of the Cancer Society.

Originally from London, then Auckland, Jack and his Kiwi wife Beverley left the fast lane to come to Whanganui 14 years ago. They started and built up the Green Acres franchise here before retiring.
Then, last year, he got some bad news.

"The Cancer Society was a godsend: being chauffeured down [to Palmerston North] with the wife. They even told you when to start drinking your pint of water — just past Bulls. They come in with you, come upstairs with you, have a cup of coffee ... then when you're finished they come down with you, and at the hospital entrance, there's a little basket of Cancer Society biscuits, free. I used to look forward to those. The ginger one was the best."
Jack had prostate cancer.
"I had never even heard of it."

It was his doctor's nurse who suggested his bloods get checked and it came back with a high reading and a hospital appointment.
"It was a bit scary: the worst thing was trying to find a car park."
A course of radiation was recommended, which meant 39 regular appointments at radiotherapy in Palmerston North. It was suggested he see someone at the Cancer Society.
"The best thing I ever done." The London accent is still there.


Jack says he would get a phone call the night before to arrange the time and the driver would be there to pick him up. Beverley accompanied him on every trip.
"No-one ever let me down. No-one was ever late. And after all the Cancer Society did for me, they never asked for anything back, never asked anything from me. They just gave."
He was so impressed he joined the Men's Group, facilitated by the Cancer Society.
"You learn a lot, and people actually tell you their secrets in there. We go on visits too. We went to the boat yard, Q West, and we've been to Pacific Helmets."

Jack did a total of 40 trips to Palmerston North Hospital with a Cancer Society driver, and he gets regular hormone treatments — an injection every three months. But he did not have to have an operation.
"This was a journey I did not want to take, but you have to go through with it. You need help, and I got that. I got everything I need.
"You should have a support person with you at all times. You may think you have taken everything in, but you just can't. A support person can ask things you don't think of until later and will take in more information than you. Luckily, I had my wife, Beverley, with me all the way."

There are lots of services the Cancer Society can provide and they would like to see more GPs steer newly diagnosed patients in their direction.
Daffodil Day, the big fundraising event of the year, raises money to enable the service to Palmerston North and everything else the Cancer Society provides.

"The radiation treatment appears to have worked. My PSA reading is down to 'undetectable'. Fingers crossed it stays that way."