Survivor raises the bar

Tristan WheelerManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Jim Bagshaw has raised around $50,000 for prostate cancer research.
Camera IconJim Bagshaw has raised around $50,000 for prostate cancer research. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

Boyup Brook farmer Jim Bagshaw has raised more than $50,000 for prostate cancer since beating the disease.

He was inspired to begin fundraising and raising awareness because he felt there was a lack of knowledge about prostate cancer.

“Until that time I knew zero about prostate, absolutely zero, and I wondered why that I should know so little,” Jim said.

“I thought how can I do something to make men aware of prostate and the need to have blood tests and check-ups?”

To help in his fundraising, he decided to team up with Boyup Brook’s annual fox shoot and solicit donations from farmers for each of the foxes killed.

“I spoke to (fox shoot organiser) Erlanda (Deas) and I thought well, I’ll ask 10 farmers if they’d be interested in donating towards prostate research,” he said

Initially his request was that the farmers donate $1 for every fox killed, however one of the involved farmers decided to up the amount to $5 per fox.

“The night the fox shoot was to start, one farming operation said we’ll give you $5 a fox and I was blown away,” Jim said.

“I’ve expanded it and asked other farmers over the last couple of years, whether they’d be interested in donating towards prostate research and I've had very positive results.

“This year I expanded it further to fellas in the farming community who haven’t been involved in donating.”

As well as farmers, Jim has received donations from businesses in the agricultural sector, such as WAMMCO International in Katanning.

Fundraising in conjunction with a fox shoot is a natural fit

for Jim, who explained that foxes were one of his pet hates.

“I hate what they do to the small marsupials, our sheep and lambs,” he said.

“I hate seeing sheep damaged overnight from foxes, we’ve had lambs killed for fun, and I hate that sort of thing.”

The money that Jim receives goes to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, which agreed to allow him to pick the research project the majority of money goes to supporting.

As well as fundraising for the foundation, Jim also offers to meet privately with men and families affected by the disease to offer support.

“I’ve taken on helping men and couples who are either going through prostate problems or have been through it and I go and have a cup of tea with them,” Jim said.

“What we talk about stays in house.

“I think it helps them going forward.”

He also promotes prostate health at group speaking engagements, including at the fox shoot each year, as well as with smaller groups.

“My philosophy is if I can help save one life, well I've done something,” Jim said.

He urged men over the age of 40 to have regular blood tests and to be aware of prostate health.

“There’s just too many men who have prostate problems and leave it too late to start to do something about it,” he said.

“If they’ve been having blood tests, they can probably nip it in the bud to a certain degree earlier on.”

Jim has been a farmer in Boyup Brook since his family moved from West Bridgetown 45 years ago, and while he continues to work full time, he says he has moved to the role of farm handyman in recent times.

“I don’t have spare time, I’m full time on the farm, I’m probably the odd jobs man now,” he said.

“Men sort of think, well I’m a man, I’m alright and they are not always alright.

“I urge fellow men once they are 40 to start having a blood test.

“Men really weren’t aware that was all we needed to find out your PSA level.

“Its private, its personal and I thought about it for a while and said that’s bullshit, I’m going to try and change that.

“I give them the basics and when gets to a personal situation, I do it one on one or one on a couple, go there have a cup of tea with them and talk about it.”

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