I’m not sure whether I’m classed as ‘Generation Y’ or a millennial, but it’s fair to say that people like me who were born in the early to mid-1980s get a fair bit of criticism, and those who are a bit younger perhaps even more so. We’re lazy, entitled, apathetic, antisocial and self-absorbed. Perhaps these criticisms are fair, but what if we could do something that would render them all irrelevant – something truly brilliant that, in hundreds of years’ time, might be recounted on an episode of ‘What the Millennials Did for Us’?
I’ve always thought it would be fantastic if it were someone around my age that finally put an end to cancer – that horrid, pitiless disease that around half of us are expected to develop at some point in our lives. What if it could go the same way smallpox did in the 1970s, where it’s now just a horrible piece of history? More than anything, this is perhaps the one thing I’d like to see happen during my lifetime.
A particularly unpleasant form of the disease is prostate cancer. Awareness received a long overdue boost when comedian Bob Monkhouse died of it in 2003, and made a posthumous appearance in this clever and darkly humorous advert. Prostate cancer also claimed the lives of actor Dennis Hopper and musician Frank Zappa, but these names are just the tip of the iceberg. Cancer Research UK confirms it as the second most common form of cancer in the UK, and the most common among men. One in eight men will be diagnosed with it during their lives, and 11,287 UK men died of it in 2014 – that’s about one every 45 minutes.
It’s for these reasons that I’ve taken a keen interest in Prostate Cancer UK’s March for Men. Taking place this June, the event is fronted by legendary Sky Sports anchor Jeff Stelling, who will be undertaking 15 marathon-length walks in 15 days, visiting 40 football grounds. I’ve signed up for just one day of this, and will be taking on the 25.8-mile walk from Chester FC to Everton FC on June 7th, calling in at Tranmere Rovers FC and Liverpool FC en route.
If you know me, you might think this is an early April Fool as I’m not exactly known for my active lifestyle. It will be a far greater distance than I’ve ever walked before and I’m sure I’ll feel it! I really enjoy walking though, and am a football ground anorak who never wastes an opportunity to pass a stadium. As a Chester FC fan, I’m also proud that my club – a supporter-owned, community-focused club reformed just seven years ago – is to be the starting point of this trek that ends at two of the biggest clubs in the world.
More important than my personal motivation, however, is the cause behind the march, and that’s the real reason I’ve written this piece. I’ve set up a JustGiving page, and with today being payday for a lot of people, I’d be really grateful if you could make a donation large or small to help me towards my target. I need to raise at least £300, which I will do come hell or high water, but anything on top of this would be fantastic.
The Prostate Cancer UK site has a section explaining specifically what can be done with your donation, which I think is a great way of showing that it’s not just about racking up pound signs and the total never being enough. Your donation can make a genuine difference to somebody living with prostate cancer, and can help ensure that research and funding are available to help diagnose men as quickly and accurately as possible.
Thanks for reading, and if you’d like to get involved in March for Men yourself, there are marches taking place all over England, from Exeter to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, so you’re sure to find one near you on the Jeff’s Route page.