Kevin Webber was greeted by Chief Executive Mark Maguire and Club Captain Andrew Davies when he arrived at The Super 6 Stadium as part of a Prostate Cancer UK march on Monday evening.
The ultra-marathon hero has embarked on a charity walk which will see him visit 10 National League clubs en route to the televised BT Sport clash between FC Halifax Town and Chesterfield on Saturday.
Webber was diagnosed with advanced incurable terminal prostate cancer in 2014 when he was just 49 and the father of three was told he may only have two years to live.
Since then he’s continued to defy the odds, raised more than £200,000 and pushed himself to the limit by completing some of the world’s most gruelling marathons, all in the name of Prostate Cancer UK.
His latest challenge began at Blyth Spartans on Sunday, and on Monday he walked from Gateshead all the way to Pools before setting off for Spennymoor and Darlington on Tuesday.
As part of his visit to each club he is presenting a special Prostate Cancer UK armband that is to be worn by the captains of each club during this weekend’s Non-League Day fixtures.
He told us that he was delighted to re-visit The Super 6 Stadium which holds some great memories for him after being alongside Jeff Stelling during his March for Men events in recent years.
“It’s fantastic to be back in Hartlepool,” said Webber, who lives in Epsom, Surrey.
“Jeff inspired me, to be honest. I did a first march with him around a year and a half ago and then last year I did all 15 with him.
“To come back to Hartlepool is great; I have some friends back in London who are big Pools fans so I took loads of pictures of myself on the pitch to send to them!
“The warmth of the welcome was amazing. If you’re me and you’ve got prostate cancer, sometimes you think nobody cares but then you come here and there’s the Chief Executive, the Captain, the Physio and everyone else here at 6pm when they’d probably rather be doing something else.
“It does make me quite emotional, to be honest. I’m just so grateful that football – and Hartlepool United – are supporting Prostate Cancer UK because it’s making a massive difference.”
Webber’s march is part of the celebrations for the National League’s recent announcement of Prostate Cancer UK as its official charity partner – and he wanted to come up with something special to mark the occasion.
“I was lucky enough to walk a little with Mike Tattersall (CEO of the National League) last year and then he came and did seven marathons in seven days which I had organised earlier this year too.
“On the back of that he told me that he would look to get the National League to support Prostate Cancer UK and I said that if he did I would do a march for him.
“He wanted to me end up at FC Halifax Town for Non-League Day on Saturday so I got thinking about what I could do because I wanted a challenge – I didn’t just want to do 50 miles because I’m quite fit even though I’m ill.
“I am pushing myself with this – 186 miles is a long way to talk in a week and, whilst I have a film-maker with me who has the mobile home, I’m pretty much on my own.”
At the end of a gruelling Monday, Webber was invited in to the Super 6 Stadium treatment room where Physio Phil Bulmer gave him use of the Club’s NormaTec Leg Recovery System.
“I was expecting just the usual hand massage for the calves or something and then suddenly I was inflated with these new wacky legs!” Webber laughed.
“No, it was actually really good and from walking in earlier to walking out now I am feeling invigorated so it’s been excellent.”