Southend United continued their life-saving relationship with Prostate Cancer UK as boss Sol Campbell backed the charity’s continued drive to save lives.
The Blues boss and former England defender hailed Prostate Cancer UK’s ground-breaking work in football by sporting the charity’s iconic ‘Man of Men’ pin badge.
Campbell recently wore the badge during Southend’s League One clash against Bristol Rovers, reaffirming the club's commitment to help stop prostate cancer being a killer.
Last season Southend proudly sported the Prostate Cancer UK logo on their shirts to help raise awareness about the most common cancer in men up and down the country.
Prostate cancer affects one in eight men, but, like former Blues boss Chris Powell, Campbell was keen to highlight how those odds shorten for black men, to one in four.
He said: "Southend United have supported the excellent work of Prostate Cancer UK for many years now, and I’m delighted to add my voice to such an important cause.
"The club sported the charity’s logo on their shirts just last season, and I know this really made an impact among the Blues family, and reading about one season card holder, Keith Smith, thanking the club for saving his life by their efforts was truly humbling. It shows first-hand the power of football in spreading this most serious message.
"By wearing the Prostate Cancer UK ‘Man of Men pin badge, I’m joining a host of fellow managers and personalities in highlighting this issue and fighting for men like Keith.
"The statistics are shocking. One man dies every 45 minutes from this disease, that’s two per game of football, so it’s something we need to address now.
"Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It will affect one in eight men in the UK in their lifetime, but for black men like me those odds are even shorter – one in four. That’s why we have to act and raise awareness and funds to beat this opponent.”
Blues fans have generously backed the charity for many years during a succession of matchday collections, and club supporters and staff have also joined the charity’s hugely popular Football to Amsterdam bike ride.
Starting out as a charity challenge with 35 riders in 2013, the Football to Amsterdam bike ride from Prostate Cancer UK reached an incredible £2.5 million cumulative fundraising landmark in June 2019, with 2020’s ride expected to smash the £3 million barrier.
Campbell added: "There are so many ways you can get involved too, from wearing a badge, like me, to running a marathon, taking part in a raft of sporting activities or joining Jeff Stelling on one of his epic March for Men walking events.
"And next year the charity again hosts its popular Football to Amsterdam bike ride, which is an event Southend’s supporters and staff have supported on several occasions. It will be great to see the club well represented again in 2020 so saddle up for an event like no other and help us stop prostate cancer being a killer.”
Those who sign up for the Football to Amsterdam ride can join Billericay-based former England star Paul Parker in the two-day event with riders pedalling from the iconic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Lee Valley VeloPark and finishing the 145-mile challenge at the Johan Cruijff Arena, the home Eredivisie champions, Ajax.
The northern leg of the 2020’s challenge kicks off, for the first time, from Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough – home of the Owls since 1899. Riders will cycle through the scenic Yorkshire countryside on day one, finishing the day’s ride in Hull, where they will get the overnight ferry to Rotterdam.
Andy Sallnow, Head of Events at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “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.
"That’s why it’s so important that events like Football to Amsterdam continue to gather momentum and we’re delighted at the support of Southend United and so many other clubs in helping raise vital funds for Prostate Cancer UK.
"One man dies every 45 minutes from prostate cancer, that’s two men during a football match which is simply unacceptable. We need to turn the game around for men and their families and Football to Amsterdam is a brilliant demonstration of fans putting their rivalries aside to fight one common opposition.
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 11,500 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 find out more information about Prostate Cancer UK’s work in football, including the Football to Amsterdam Ride and how to buy an iconic ‘Man of Men’ pin badge go to prostatecanceruk.org/amsterdam - and Blues fans can get a £25 discount on their ride registration with the code SOUTHEND25.