Consultant urological surgeon to lead team of medics up Mount Etna 

06/09/2013 00:00 
A consultant urological surgeon from University College Hospital will lead a team of medical professionals in its latest fundraising bid to increase awareness of bladder health.

September is Bladder Awareness Month at the specialist Female, Functional and Restorative Urology Unit at UCLH.

As part of the campaign Ockrim’s Olympians, Mr Jeremy Ockrim will not only raise vital funds for research and education but will also raise public awareness of bladder conditions and of the many new and effective treatments available.

The aim is to tackle some of the taboos relating to urological issues.

The activities will start on Sunday, with the third Ockrim/Parnell Fund, Family Fun Day and 5k Fun Run to be held in London’s Regents Park.

Building on the success of last year’s event, this year will include a mini Olympics for the children with events such as egg-and-spoon race, sack race and tug-of-war.

Last year, Ockrim’s Olympians tackled a 2012-themed ascent of Mount Olympus, the Greek home of the mythical ancient gods.

This year, the team will be gearing up for its biggest challenge to date, setting off to climb Europe's most active and awesome volcano, Mount Etna in Sicily.

By the time they return on September 15th, they will have trekked more than 55km to the summit of the 3,350m high volcano, at the end of a four-day hike.

Despite the torrid conditions experienced in last year’s Mount Olympus challenge, where the team was stranded on the side of the mountain by torrential rain and a very lively thunder and lightning storm, Mr Ockrim loves the challenge of it all.

“Volcanoes are more interesting than mountains,” he says. “Nothing particularly happens on a mountain (apart from that deluge of rain!!!) but if something happens on a volcano, there’s a bit more excitement.”

Men and women alike may find it uncomfortable talking about the physical and psychological challenges associated with bladder problems, such as bladder dysfunction, incontinence after prostate surgery, prolapse and congenital abnormalities. These can have chronic disabling effects on a person’s life.

Although between 15 and 20 per cent of the population have significant bladder issues, and five to 10 per cent of men as well as women have incontinence, these issues do not have the political tag of cancer, heart or women’s health.

But urological issues cause more primary care attendances, hidden distress and socioeconomic burden than these other diseases combined.

Mr Ockrim wants to let people know that they are not things people have to live with and suffer in silence, as they can be treated and patients’ quality of life can be restored.

He says: “The Mt Etna trek is a major and extremely exciting challenge for the team, and our aim is to raise over £100,000 for research, education and training of urologists together with providing more patient information and raising public awareness.

“This is a charity like no other, and it needs your support today. Every penny raised will go to this amazing charity, committed to advancing the treatment and management of bladder conditions whilst also raising public awareness of issues which affect millions of people in the UK each year. We also break down some of the taboos surrounding urological conditions, encouraging people to seek help.”


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