Errol McKellar is from the Caribbean, and is one of six brothers and sisters born in 1957. Errol is an automobile mechanic engineer who also does football coaching in his spare time. He was involved in football for nearly 40 years. Errol coached people like David Beckham, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, Ledley King, Jermain Defoe and many other footballers not famous by name, but equally talented and important. Currently, Errol is coaching at Leyton Orient Football Club. He has assisted them as the under 18’s coach for nearly 20 years, working with youngsters and helping with the first team.

Working with David Beckham, Sol Campbell and Others.

“I am very fortunate that during my journey in football — which has lasted for over 40 years
 as a football person and coach — I have worked with some of the very best in the country,” 
Errol said. people like the young David Beckham for five years since he was 9 years of age, 
until age 12. The same can be said for people like Sol Campbell, Ade Akinbiyi 
(https://prostatecanceruk.org/about-us/news-and-views/2015/7/prostate-cancer-and-me-ade-akinbiyi), 
Jackie Murray, Ashley Cole, Jermain Defoe and many others that he was very blessed to work 
with. The ones that are not famous by name are equally important. Many footballers’ journeys 
are based on luck; for every one that makes it, unfortunately there will be hundreds that do 
not make it for different reasons. “Because they are not famous does not mean they are less 
important,” said Errol. “They are successful in different ways because they have gone on to 
do different things; they have become managers, coaches etc. I am still very respected in 
the game and I am very honoured and very proud of that. It’s a lot to do with what I have 
learned from the experiences that I’ve shared.” Errol is a phone call away from helping 
anyone who needs advice and want to progress. “This is a very rich sport now, and kids will 
need all the experience of people like myself to guide them,” Errol affirmed. “In the past, 
in my generation, it was a very difficult period to make progress, and now the road to making 
the progress is a lot easier. There are a lot more coaches out there that understand what it 
takes to get that individual through the next barrier.”

My Journey

 

At the age of 16, Errol wanted to be a footballer, but started to fix cars to earn some money, and one of his friends gave him an apprenticeship. He was good at it, and continued with the apprenticeship, working in different garages until he established his finances and expertise and started his own business. At 34 years of age, his business took off.

“I would say to anyone who wants to start a business: have a goal, have a dream and be 
determined to put them together, because when you start off, your ambition is to work hard 
and succeed, but you have to have a plan for succeeding,” Errol replied when a question was 
raised during the interview. He was very fortunate. Through the strength of his family and 
guardians, in particular his mother, he had to learn the hard way and work hard for everything 
that he achieved. “My message would be very simple: have a goal, have achievements and try hard 
to bring the two together.”

At 34, Errol was fixing cars whilst doing football coaching because he did not make it as a footballer at 16, and he did not want to walk away from the sport. Doing part-time coaching helped Errol learn how to teach people properly. “When I starting coaching I realised I did not know everything when I was 16,” Errol commented.

When I Was Fifty My Prostate Cancer Reading Was Zero

 

When Errol got 50 everything else where fine with his medical results for his life insurance, it only came up with a few minor things needed to deal with as a result of ageing. “When I was 50 years old my prostate reading was zero,” said Errol shockingly. When he was 53, his wife complained about his snoring. He went to the doctor, picked up a leaflet, and read the leaflet from Prostate Cancer UK. He wanted to make an appointment, but the receptionist said to him, “It is a simple blood test, and takes less than 10 minutes.”

 

How Ten Minutes Changed the Rest of my Life

 

“I did the blood test, and within a week I had the results back from my doctor,” said Errol. The results were unexpected, and the doctor suggested doing another blood test. After another week, the doctor suggested a biopsy. Errol went to the hospital with his wife Sharon and had it all done. “Your prostate is covered in cancer.’ When I heard those words for the first time in my life, I became frightened and scared,” commented Errol. After that, Errol left the doctor’s office to sit in his car and he lost control of processing it, because he felt devastated. “I was in the car and, all of a sudden, I think everything just came on top of that word ‘cancer’ and I lost control, bursting into tears,” Errol said. “My wife came back to the car and gave me the encouragement that I needed to stop crying.” She told him that since she has known Errol she has never seen him quit on anything that he has done. Errol bravely faced the doctor again to find out how to fight the illness and the doctor’s answer was: “The prostate needs to be removed, or you could be dead in six months.”

Not Being Scared Can Save Your Life

 

Errol understood that there would be some complications and side effects, but for Errol, after what he had been through, it was not a debate as to whether the operation would save his life. After the prostate removal operation, Errol still had 1.5% cancer and he needed radiotherapy. “I had a little amount of radiotherapy for 3 months. It was very difficult and it took me six months, through rehab, to get myself back on track and go back to work.” Errol continued, “During that time I felt very lucky because this illness that I had, if I did not go to the doctor, I would not be here now.” Errol felt that he needed to do something about it to save other people’s lives. If his wife did not advise him to visit the doctors because of his snoring, he would never have been to the GP and read the leaflet or took the PSP blood test that saved his life. Errol Mckellar came up with something: MOT YOURSELF.

 

Six Months to Get A Normal Life

 

After six months, Errol came back to work and in the first week a customer came into his garage. Errol asked the client when he had last checked his prostate. The client reacted, asking what the hell that had to do with fixing his car. Without thinking, ErroI offered the client a 20% discount on the work that he had to do on the client’s car if he got it checked. Two weeks later, the client came to pick up his car with the test done and confessed that he only did the test because of the discount. This would cost Errol about £200, but the client did not take the discount and wanted Errol to donate the money to a charity and, more importantly, to raise awareness of this problem. That client had a test result of 25.4% cancer in his prostate.“I would never have gone to the doctors,” said the client. From 2012 until now, 48 people have been diagnosed with prostate cancer because of Errol’s garage.

 

 

Errol is still offering that service to raise awareness of the issue. Now, in 2017, two of the 48 men are sadly no longer here. One was 42 years of age and died after 10 months; the other was 36 years of age and died after six months. Errol explained the significance of this issue: “40,000 men a year will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. 10,000 men will die, and one man will die every hour. One in eight European men and one in four Afro-Caribbean men will have prostate cancer.” Twenty-eight out of those forty-eight men who visited Errol’s garage were Afro-Caribbean; these numbers are not exaggerated, according to Errol.

Three Main Cancer Issues

 

  1. People do not know that they have the illness (like the 42 year old man)
  2. People do not want to face their family’s prostate cancer history (the 36 year old man died because his two brothers, his dad and his uncle all had prostate issues, and he chose to do nothing about it, even a simple test prior to meeting Errol)
  3. Cancer acts fast (in 3 and a half years, Errol’s prostate cancer reading went from zero percent to 92.4%

Since then, Errol found out that his dad had prostate cancer and never said anything. Knowing your family’s cancer history can help stop the illness to spread and save your life, something that the black community do not want to talk about. The older generation needs to pass this information on, and ensure that the younger generation know about their cancer history, in order to save their lives.

What is the difference between your car and your health when something is wrong? Errol questioned himself. Driving in a car without having its ‘health’ check (MOT) is illegal, but living and moving around with 92.4% cancer and not being checked is totally fine, apparently. Our health is more important than a car’s health and needs to be checked annually; that is why Errol McKellar created the MOT Yourself charity.

Over five thousand people approached Errol’s garage. If we amplify this by 1 million garages in England, how many men in those garages will have this problem? The statistics show that one man a month was diagnosed with the illness over a five year period through MOT Yourself. Errol feels that it is a very frightening situation and that he was lucky, and he is not raising awareness to be a hero but to save lives.

Cancer Knocked Me Down, It Did Not Knock Me Out

“When people ask me what I want to achieve by doing this, the answer is quite simple really. 
I want to save someone’s life and prevent them from having to go through what I went through.” 
It is not easy, from a man’s perspective, dealing with not having a prostate; it is the reversed 
version of a hysterectomy in a woman, Errol concluded. “Cancer will kill you if you leave it. 
It is important to do something. My attitude is: cancer knocked me down, it did not knock me out.”

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