In 2014 Shane Muldoon organised a 3 day horse ride from Alice Springs to Ross River (90km). It didn't matter that the Centralian cancer patient hadn't ridden a horse in more than 40 years, as the importance of the experience far outweighed any saddle sores!
Shane along with 9 others including his partner Marie (on foot) decided they would make this inaugural trek to raise awareness of rural and remote health in particular for men . The awareness campaign came after Shane, being told that he may have prostate cancer after a number of test results indicating irregularities, waited for an appointment with a specialist . It was at this point is where the issues began. No response from health representatives on receival of referral , no assessment of condition, no communication or time lines. Many other issue came to light once treatment began but two really need to be looked into and definitely upgraded before someone else dies due to slow and ineffective procedures. (A) Better communication and transference of information between different health departments,GPs, external specialists and medical centres with better lines of communication between these departments and patients. (B) Reduced notification and waiting times for specialist appointments.
If these two points are improved, peoples who lives in regional or remote areas can take control of their health to improve their chances,plus their quality of work and home life. Options are limited for health services compared to the metropolitan areas so our procedures and systems in health need to be working efficiently. Since the initial event we have had 3 trailrides , added a new event ,Undoolya Stations Bronco Branding Competition, a Gymkhana and sponsored a number organisations, teams and events .
An association called 'Broken Spur Inc' was formed to advocate, promote and sponsor rural and remote health programs , in particular for Men's Health.
"I went in to get a medical for bus licence renewal last year and ended up on the table getting a carbon fibre mitral heart valve replacement. So I'm a little bit lighter and go a tad faster, but am very aware of how important it is for blokes to get a regular check up."
"While effective campaigns and events have increased the awareness of breast cancer and womens health worldwide, awareness of prostate cancer and men's health is sadly lacking". In fact studies show men are their own worst enemies when it comes to health, "many men won't even discuss it, let alone seek help for issues they are not comfortable with. Often they see it as a weakness"
So Shane is taking matters into his own hands by taking the issue into men's forums , like a BBQ, after work beers, bush race meetings & get togethers, etc. "Men open up more easily at functions like these"
organisers 2014 from left to right ; john liddle, shane muldoon, tony linn, colin gordon & nat turner
"More men die each year from prostate cancer than women with breast cancer" says Shane who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012.
But cancer is not the only target in Shanes sights. After his diagnosis it took the NT Health Department 9 months to arrange him an appointment with a visiting specialist, "by the time they contacted me I'd already had surgery, had been rated a T3 cancer patient and was only weeks away from starting radiation treatment". Shane is hoping that creating awareness of his upsetting and uninformed experience may encourage some action to be taken within the Health Department.
"This ride was unbelieable!!