The father who diagnosed himself with prostate cancer after watching a TV programme – and how it got him an MBEPhil Kissi, 54, suffered no symptoms but was diagnosed with an aggressive strain of prostate cancerA chance viewing of City Hospital prompted him to get testedBeing of black African decent and having a family history of prostate cancer increased his riskHe has now pledged to spend the rest of his life raising money for charity and helping disadvantaged young people
03:37 GMT, 1 January 2013
As a former athlete, sitting down to watch daytime TV wasn't something Phil Kissi usually did. But without that chance viewing on a rare day off, the 54-year-old may not have made it to his 50th birthday.
Despite being at a high risk of contracting prostate cancer, Mr Kissi was totally unaware his life was in danger until he watched BBC's City Hospital.
Coming from black African decent and having a family history of prostate cancer put him more at risk.
Phil Kissi with his niece and nephews, clockwork from top right Mildred, 8, TJ, 2, Bradley, 6, David, 2 and Marlon, 4.
After discovering he had an aggressive form of the cancer, Mr Kissi, from the Isle of Dogs in London, underwent robotic surgery at Guy’s and St.Thomas’ Hospital and has now completed his treatment.
'I was very, very, lucky,' he says.
'If I hadn't have gone to get checked I wouldn't be here today and seen my three grandchildren.
'When you've been given a second chance at life you have to be thankful every day for it.'
Coming so close to death gave Mr Kissi the impetus he needed to turn his life around and dedicate his time to raising awareness about the disease, as well as pursuing his personal goals to help young people and train athletes.
Phil, pictured with wife Linda, has urged men not to be embarrassed about getting worrying symptoms checked out
The father of three sons, Jason, 29, Craig, 27 and Sam, 24, said: 'Every day when I wake up I say to myself that I will enjoy this day and try to make a difference.'
'I made a pledge if I came out alive I
would try to be the best person I could be. My life would be about
helping other people rather than pursuing my own agenda.
'When I was wheeled to the theatre I said a prayer and vowed I would dedicate my life to other people.
'I realised you come to this world with nothing and go with nothing, so material things don't matter.'
'I was an athlete in my youth till I
got an achilles tendon injury. Then in 2004 I started taking my son to
the athletics track. He ended up focusing on university but I realised I
wanted to coach so I started in 2005.
'It was really good timing as it gave me something to focus on and come to term with things after I had my prostate removed.
I train middle-distance runners who are from all over London. I
realised there was a lack of ethnic runners and coaches doing the 400m
and 800m. I wanted to reach out to the community and tell them it didn't
just have to be the 100m and 200m.
Fighting fit: Dedicated coach Phil Kissi with two of his trainee athletes. After surviving cancer he vowed to dedicate his life to other people
He has a busy schedule and trained right through Christmas. On Christmas Day he was training athletes at 7am at Battersea Park for a race in Ireland on 12th January.
Mr Kissi left his job in the civil service to set up his own company, Moving Forward, which trains youngsters and get them into employment.
'The idea is to talk to youngsters into getting into sports and talk them out of crime,' he said.
'I wanted more time to do more for others and having my own business lets me do that,' he says.
His hard work and dedication was rewarded when he received an MBE from the Queen.
said “Well you have been busy Mr Kissi, haven't you”, and all I could
say was “Yes, Maam.” I was so nervous! Then she smiled. I was so proud.
'2013 is going
to be a big year. I'm really excited. I want
to see if I can raise
1million for Prostate Cancer UK and Guy's Hospital where I was treated.
I'm thinking about walking 100miles and trying to find a
celebrity on board.
'I really wish men wouldn't be
embarrassed about it. Men are scared to talk about prostate cancer and
getting an exam, but the doctors are there to help us. They can't help
if we don't help ourselves. Women are much better about getting checked
For more information about prostate cancer see the Prostate Cancer UK website.