Prostate cancer affects 1 in 8 men in the UK - charity walk will raise money to help save lives
Prostate Cancer UK are once again hosting a series of epic marathon marches this September as the football community unites against the most common cancer in men – and the event kicks off in Greater Manchester on 22 September.
For a sixth time, the leading men’s health charity will visit football hotbeds and iconic venues across the nation, and is calling on fans to join four 26.2-mile walks across Greater Manchester, the South Coast, the West Midlands and London.
Why? Prostate cancer affects 1 in 8 men in the UK. That’s thousands of dads, grandads, partners, brothers, uncles, sons and mates. By taking part in a Football March and raising money, supporters will help fund lifesaving research into earlier prostate cancer diagnosis, better treatment and essential support services.
You can sign up to take part now at prostatecanceruk.org/footballmarch
The Football March starts on Thursday 22 September where fans can make their way up the football pyramid by walking from National League Altrincham FC to the home of Premier League champions Manchester City. An action-packed Greater Manchester route also takes on League Two newcomers Stockport County, before a trip to Manchester United’s historic Old Trafford.
From there, the walkers will head to Salford City before finishing at the Etihad.
The second day (Friday 23 September) sees the march head to the South Coast for the first time, with a route between fierce rivals Portsmouth and Southampton. The road from Fratton Park to St Mary’s will also take in National League Eastleigh FC.
On Saturday, 24 September the walkers are in the West Midlands heading from Birmingham City to Wolverhampton Wanderers via Edgbaston Stadium, home of Warwickshire CCC, Aston Villa and Walsall.
London hosts the finale on Sunday, 25 September where AFC Wimbledon’s Cherry Red Records Stadium kicks off a day that will end at Millwall FC, long-time charity partner and the first club to wear the Prostate Cancer UK logo on their shirts back in 2013/14. The walkers will also stop off at Premier League newcomers Fulham, and there will be other high-profile club stops along the way.
Since 2016, over 2,000 football fans, supporters and personalities have marched across the UK for Prostate Cancer UK, visiting more than 100 clubs and raising in excess of £1.6m.
Led by Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling, walkers marched from Hartlepool to Wembley in 2016; Exeter to Newcastle in 2017, when both Manchester United and Manchester City were on the route, and all four UK nations in four days in 2019. Last season’s amble saw marches join the Soccer Saturday host in the North East, Yorkshire, Merseyside and London.
Stelling said: ”Unbelievable. That’s how I’d describe Prostate Cancer UK’s football marches. It’s brilliant to see them continuing their football marching legacy later this year and I’d wholeheartedly recommend getting involved with this brilliant charity across four football hotbeds. Your feet might tell you differently on the day, but I promise you won’t regret it. It’s a terrific event with terrific people, and you’ll get to visit some great football clubs too. Plus you will be doing your bit to help beat prostate cancer.
“Sadly, other commitments mean I’ll be unable to walk this year, and although my feet will thank me, I’ll miss marching alongside so many inspiring people. I will be watching on from afar and wish everyone taking part the best of luck.”
There are 12,519 men living with prostate cancer in Manchester, and one of them, Tony Collier, is delighted to see Altrincham host the start of the Greater Manchester leg. Despite living with advanced prostate cancer, Tony has joined several football marches previously, not to mention raising huge funds and awareness of prostate cancer.
As part of that he works with the club’s community outreach team, and he said: “Prostate Cancer UK have raised more than £1.5m across all their football marches, and its been wonderful to walk alongside so many like-minded people across the UK. They are wonderful events with so many inspiring people, and it will be an experience you never forget.
“My world came crashing down when I was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer in May 2017. It was devastating. Being told that you’ve got cancer is bad enough but then when you hear the word incurable it’s indescribable.
“I’m being kept alive by a drug developed here in the UK from research funded by charitable donations. The funds raised from these marches will help develop new treatments to keep me alive longer so that I can share more time seeing my grandchildren grow up.
“I’m absolutely delighted that the marches are coming to my hometown club, Altrincham FC. I first watched Altrincham in the 60’s and have a season ticket for this season. It’s a great club doing great work in the community and I’m delighted to be involved as a director of their community outreach charity too.”
Prostate Cancer UK Chief Executive Laura Kerby said: “Since 2016 our football-themed walks across the UK have seen supporters, clubs and football personalities unite brilliantly against thedeadliest opponent of all, prostate cancer.
“One man dies every 45 minutes from prostate cancer; it’s the most common cancer in men. But everyone who has embraced these mega marches, including the brilliant Jeff Stelling, has allowed us to raise a game-changing sum of money and make massive progress in our goal to make this a disease that men and their families no longerfear.
“Football is a force for good and plays a fantastic role in bringing people together for a common cause. I’ve heard so many stories, both inspirational and heart-breaking about the thousands that have joined us, and I’m looking forward to pulling my walking boots on this year.
“In Greater Manchester, on the South Coast, across the West Midlands and through London, we will continue to proudly walk side by side in our ultimate quest, to fund more groundbreaking research and work towards a screening programme, to catch prostate cancer early and save lives. Together, we can beat prostate cancer.”
Sign up for The Football March at prostatecanceruk.org/footballmarch