Prolific event organiser Andy O’Sullivan faces major surgery to hopefully relieve him of agonising pain

Date published: 06 September 2019

Prolific event organiser and race commentator Andy O’Sullivan MBE will be undergoing radical surgery to remove his bladder and prostate on 11 September, after months of excruciating and agonising pain.

Having previously fought bladder cancer, Andy now faces this major operation after having been in extreme discomfort and pain since his final treatment for cancer in January 2019.

Following his diagnosis in 2016, the former policeman, 66, began treatment in 2016, undergoing a long course of Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) with the Pennine Acute Trust.

However, soon after his final treatment, Andy began to struggle passing water, later being given a four-week course of antibiotics for cystitis following an MRI scan, which showed water retention and a swollen prostate.

His wife, Emily, says the scan was only given as routine, not urgent, despite Andy’s medical history and a family history of prostate cancer.

Due to the immense agony he was in, Andy was then given a catheter, which didn’t help relieve his pain. Despite taking a cocktail of drugs for pain relief, none have given him much relief.

Emily said: “I cannot believe he has been left like this. He has been in so much agony for months; I’ve never experienced anything like it. We’ve been trying to break through and manage his pain better.

“It’s barbaric as he has been so distressed for months. I’ve been trying to keep him mentally healthy because he’s such a people person.

“It's a difficult time in anybody's life when they've been given a diagnosis of any kind. Things definitely need to change and if speaking helps to improve things, then I've achieved something.”

She confirmed on Friday 6 September that they have now received written confirmation that Andy’s operation will go ahead next week, after undergoing pre-operative tests on 30 August.

Emily has raised several complaints with Pennine Acute dating back to when Andy was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, and has written to the Greater Manchester Metro Mayor, Andy Burnham, as she feels her husband has been left in pain for too long.


Andy O'Sullivan with running legend Dr Ron Hill in Whitworth
Andy O'Sullivan (right) with running legend Dr Ron Hill (centre) in Whitworth


Andy has organised over 670 races for numerous charitable causes since 1983, many named after people who contributed enormously to the sport.

Andy’s long-running career started in July 1982 when, along with 2,000 others, Andy completed the ‘Rochdale Observer 7 Fun Run,’ raising £500 for Rochdale Disabled Scouts.

In 1991, Andy received the BEM for services to the police and charities, which was followed with an MBE for services to athletics and charities 13 years later in 2004. 

He even carried the Olympic torch in London that year, together with some of the most famous people in the UK.

Professor Matt Makin, Medical Director for North Manchester General Hospital on behalf of The Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, said: “We are sorry to hear that Mr O’Sullivan is unhappy with his care and treatment.  

“In such cases, we will work with the patient to find out what may have gone wrong, address their concerns and ensure we make the necessary improvements.

“We have been in touch directly with Mr O’Sullivan and other local primary and healthcare providers to discuss how this has happened.”

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