Joshua in his rickshaw car in India
Joshua’s story: Rickshaw running for men’s health Image by: Joshua Walker
Joshua in his rickshaw car in India
Joshua and his team mates standing at the finish line of the rickshaw run
30 October 2023

Joshua’s story: Rickshaw running for men’s health

4 minutes read time

I always wanted to be a police officer. At age 18 I applied, but was rejected due to having little life experience for the role. I spent the next six years backpacking, which opened my eyes to the world and different cultures. After my time abroad, I returned and re-applied for the police. I was accepted and have worked as an officer for the last seven years.

Working in the male-dominated police service, we see firsthand how men can sometimes struggle silently with both personal and job-related challenges; letting it build up until they feel there is no other way out. It's essential that we have organisations like Movember that encourage men to open up, seek help when needed, and foster a sense of community.

Man-to-man chats

During my time back in the UK, one of my close school friends in his mid-twenties became quite ill and was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. I visited him every few weeks. He was bed bound for a lot of his illness and so we’d talk and share our experiences and really open up to each other about life.

" Some days were tough, but I wouldn't change the adventure for anything. "

Looking back, this was my first form of therapy, which I know we both appreciated. We were able to speak freely and talk about that dude stuff that is usually pushed aside.

Unfortunately, my friend passed away. He was the first person I had lost to something like this. In his absence, I really missed our one-on-one time and man-to-man chats.

Discovering Movember 

I looked around for ways that I could help on a bigger scale, all of which, were very simple; I started donating blood every 12 weeks. I signed up to be a bone marrow donor and discovered Movember. I had seen Movember before, and thought nothing more than it being about growing moustaches, but I then saw the work that they did. I support Movember because it's a movement that resonates with me on a personal level. Movember's mission to raise awareness about men's health issues, particularly prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health, is something I deeply believe in.

In 2018, I met a friend for life, Dave, whilst backpacking across Southern Africa. After our trip, Dave was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It was a shock to us all. He went through a tumultuous journey of treatments and surgeries.

Movember played a pivotal role in Dave’s recovery; offering valuable resources and support for both him and his family. Their commitment to tackling men's health issues head-on is nothing short of inspirational. They're not afraid to tackle the tough stuff, like those uncomfortable conversations about our health that men often avoid.

The Rickshaw Run

I eagerly get involved in Movember by growing a Mo that's not just a fun conversation starter, but also a symbol of solidarity with men facing these challenges. It's playful, but it carries a powerful message.

This year, I and two friends from work, participated in the Rickshaw Run and slapped a giant Mo across our cart!

We drove an auto-rickshaw across India, from Gangtok in the north to Kochi in the south, covering over 3,500km, in a seven-horsepower hairdryer on wheels.

The first day, we left the mountains of Gangtok and thought we’d bitten off more than we could chew - driving a three wheeled vehicle across the entire length of India that would usually make a maximum trip of about 25km a day.

The first week went off without a hitch. We blasted over 2,000km south and met some beautiful locals along the way. They would stop us and ask to chat, excited that three English men wanted to travel across their stunning country and they took many photos with us and the rickshaw.

The second week wasn’t as ideal. We had three separate breakdowns, two of which we were able to get fixed with the help of the locals, who would appear from nowhere and make it their duty to help us.

We met a group of three Dutch lads who were also doing the Rickshaw Run. We reached out and asked for their help, which they very kindly obliged to do, towing us 10km across the final city, until disaster struck and our tow rope snapped.

However, the locals once again jumped to our aid, producing a thick rope and looping it between the two rickshaws until we were able to leave.

In it together

We crossed the finish line, together with our Dutch friends and celebrated driving ourselves over 3,500km, completely immersed in the culture and beauty of India. Some days were tough, but I wouldn't change the adventure for anything.

I found the journey such an experience, the small things and generosity of strangers, even when we didn't always speak the same language, was heart-warming. We did the Rickshaw Run in the name of Movember to promote a fun culture of openness and support. It's about raising awareness, funds, and ultimately, a collective spirit that says, "We're in this together, guys."

The journey is tough at times, but when you look back, it’s the journey that shapes you and the one that you talk about after it’s happened.

Support Josh’s epic race