Jeff Stelling has paid tribute to Pools’ partnership with Prostate Cancer UK as he prepares for a second epic trek to raise much-needed funds for the EFL’s official charity.
The Club’s Honorary President has revealed how thrilled he was when the Town End was re-named as The Prostate Cancer UK Stand at the start of this season as a gesture to Jeff and then Chief Executive Russ Green for their efforts in the original March for Men last year.
Now the popular Sky Sports presenter is in training for a second charity challenge when he is joined by more friends and famous faces in an attempt to complete an astonishing 15 marathons in 15 days during June.
Jeff is planning to walk all the way from Exeter City’s St James’ Park to Newcastle United’s St James’ Park in just over a fortnight and, of course, he’ll be calling in to see us at Pools on the way.
“When Hartlepool unveiled the Prostate Cancer UK Stand after the walk I was really, really, extremely proud,” Jeff explained.
“They were a big part of the walk last year. They laid on so much for us; they were so supportive.
“We’d been to the ground to shoot preview videos, and I remember sitting in the stands with Russ thinking prostate cancer kills one man every hour in the UK and looking at the seats in the stand and imagining one man in eight catching prostate cancer, one man every hour being killed.
“It all put it in to perspective. You can take huge blocks of the stadium and think ‘goodness me, everyone sitting in that block could be diagnosed with prostate cancer’.
“So I was delighted that not just Russ, but the Club itself has joined the battle.
“Football isn’t as male-orientated as it used to be but there will still be many, many men filling every football ground each and every Saturday and they are the people we want to get the message over to.
“If you fall in to a certain category, if you are at risk, if you feel you are at risk,if you have any doubts then get yourself checked out, speak to a doctor or give the people at Prostate Cancer UK a call for a bit of advice.
“We are getting the message through to the right sort of people thanks to clubs like mine, Hartlepool United, and indeed football clubs throughout the country.”
Jeff and his band of fellow walkers made countless memories on the road last year and he’s looking forward to creating many more when they begin this year’s mammoth trek on Friday 2nd June.
“My link to Prostate Cancer UK and the battle to save men’s lives has been an uplifting one for me,” he admitted.
“I remember meeting a husband and wife waiting at 7.30am in the chilly north-east air in Marske on the coast there, basically the lady waiting to thank us. Even by wearing the badge we had raised awareness and that awareness had saved her husband’s life.
“She had seen the badges we wear on Soccer Saturday and mentioned it to her husband; they looked it up on the Internet to find out what the badge represented, what the symptoms of prostate cancer were and then said to her husband ‘that sounds like you’.
“They went and got checked out and he did have an aggressive form of prostate cancer. However, it was caught early enough and if you catch this early enough you can beat it. He was surviving and she wanted to thank us.
“Since that day, every week virtually, somebody comes up and thanks us for what we are doing. It makes me feel very humble but it also make me feel very gratified that I’m in a position where I can do something.
“I don’t have to sit on my bum all day long. I can put one foot in front of the next and hopefully raise awareness and funds to help more men beat this diabolical disease.”
If you fancy helping to support this year’s event and joining Jeff on the road for one of the legs then you can pay a £25 deposit now and pledging to raise a minimum of £300 in sponsorship.