Hundreds of football fans will set out on the road to Wembley on Sunday 22nd July with Prostate Cancer UK unveiling an even bigger and better March for Men walking programme as they make further strides to stop prostate cancer being a killer.
After a successful launch of the charity’s flagship walking campaign last year raised more than £1 million, there is even more reason for people to put their best foot forward and combat the most common cancer in men.
For the first time, the number of men dying from prostate cancer every year has overtaken the number of women dying from breast cancer, making prostate cancer the third biggest cancer killer in the UK.
Stepping up to the challenge, the leading men’s health charity will be recruiting an army of walkers representing clubs from the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and Non-League in London and the South East in four mega marathon marches.
The Football March for Men will see legions of walkers setting off on the road to Wembley, starting out from West Ham United, Millwall, St Albans City and Sutton United, and heading to the home of English football. The march to the arch will take in 15 clubs and create a fabulous finale.
The event has been backed by legendary former England and Tottenham Hotspur keeper and Prostate Cancer UK ambassador Ray Clemence, who will meet the walkers at Wembley, a place he knows very well.
Clemence, who has himself been affected by prostate cancer, said: “Wembley will always be a special place for me. I’ve been lucky enough to play at the home of football domestically on several occasions, had the privilege of captaining my country there against Brazil and have also coached from the sidelines.
“So, it represents a fitting finale for Prostate Cancer UK’s Football March for Men, as fans across London and the South East converge on the home of football to raise money and awareness.
“Among the clubs on the march are Tottenham Hotspur, a club very close to my heart, and it’s great to see them supporting the cause. I’ve also got some good memories of my time at Barnet, but I always had a warm welcome across the capital and its terrific to see 15 clubs putting their rivalries aside to walk side by side. Its shaping up to be a brilliant event and one that will really help raise awareness and shape change.”
London Stadium, home to the Premier League Hammers, will be the backdrop to the East London leg of the march, the route also visiting National League Leyton Orient before popping in on North London neighbours Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. Indeed, Spurs fans will get a glimpse of the new-look White Hart Lane before the day ends at their current borrowed base, Wembley.
The South London starting point is The Den, home to Championship side Millwall, who earned national acclaim when they put the Prostate Cancer UK logo on their first team strip in 2013/14. The route also visits Crystal Palace, Fulham, current Premier League champions Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers before the finale.
National League high-flyers Sutton United kick-off the South West London leg, which sees visits to AFC Wimbledon and Brentford, while the fourth starting point is Clarence Park, home of National League South, St Albans City. Walkers will head to Watford and Barnet before the final stretch to HA9.
The Football March for Men will see hundreds of football fans take on the baton from Jeff Stelling after the Sky Sports presenter, flanked by a cast of celebrities and civilians, walked more than 650 miles across 25 marathons the length and breadth of the country in the last two years, raising £800,000. After his tireless efforts, the 62-year-old is taking a breather in 2018, but has challenged fans across the capital and the South East to get involved in one of the Football March for Men events.
He said: “Working with Prostate Cancer UK and their battle to save men’s lives has been both uplifting and inspiring for me and its brilliant to see the charity continue to march for men across the UK in 2018.
“The football family has long supported the work of Prostate Cancer UK, and I was blown away by the support from fans up and down the country during my two mega walks. By showing their support in the Football March for Men in July, supporters will be stepping up and changing the game for men and their loved ones.
“This all wouldn’t be possible without the incredible support of the public, of the clubs and football fans and the passion of the charity. I’ve met men and their families affected by this devastating disease, and I’ve also met those scientists helping to inspire change. That’s why we march again in 2018. Prepare to be inspired.”
Prostate Cancer UK’s march to the arch in 2018 provides a fitting climax to an exciting climax of walking events as the charity extends its footprint across the UK.
On Father’s Day weekend, last year, the inaugural March for Men events saw over 1,600 walkers take to the parks of London, Leeds and Glasgow raising more than a quarter of a million pounds.
Now, across seven cities throughout the UK in June, families, friends and loved ones will be pulling on their walking boots and converging on picturesque parklands up and down the country.
Starting with a North West double header in Manchester and Liverpool on Sunday, June 10th, the countrywide quest to fight back against a disease that kills one man every 45 minutes continues across Father’s Day weekend (16-17 June), with London, Bristol and Glasgow hosting the family-friendly walks. The marches continue in Leeds on June 23rd before concluding a week later in Nottingham, on Saturday, 30 June.
Prostate Cancer UK’s Chief Executive, Angela Culhane, walked more than 130 miles with Stelling during the legendary jaunts from Hartlepool United to Wembley and Exeter City to Newcastle United. She said: “I’m thrilled that our walking programme continues to gather momentum, and look forward to beating the drum even louder across the UK this year as we mobilise legions of our supporters.
“One man dies every 45 minutes from prostate cancer, and we now know this disease is the third biggest cancer killer. That’s unacceptable. We need to turn that around and the wonderful efforts of Jeff, Wayne, Gemma and everyone who has walked for us previously have laid the foundations.
“Thanks to the money raised we can fund more ground-breaking research, and it will also help us provide dedicated support and information to men and their families and make prostate cancer a disease the next generation of men need not fear. We’ve got a way to go but these walks are the perfect way to take a step in the right direction.”
The substantial sums raised by fundraising will help ‘shift the science’ and crack the three core issues of diagnosis, treatment and prevention, which have been left unsolved for too long. It will also help provide support and information to those affected by the disease.
Many people are unaware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. One man will die from prostate cancer every 45 minutes in the UK. That’s over 11,800 men a year. Based on current trends, if we ignore prostate cancer and do nothing, this number will rise to over 14,500 men a year by 2026.
To sign up to a March for Men or find out more information go to: www.prostatecanceruk.org/footballmarch