Soccer legend, John Hartson ‘Makes his Mark on Cancer’

Soccer legend, John Hartson ‘Makes his Mark on Cancer’

Former Arsenal, Celtic, West Ham and Welsh soccer player John Hartson was in Cork this week to officially launch this year’s ‘Make Your Mark on Cancer’ charity walk in aid of The Mercy Hospital Foundation.

The annual 22km sponsored walk will take place on Sunday 13th July from The Viaduct on the N71, to the Town Hall in Bandon, and will raise funds for The Mercy Cancer Support Centre at Sheares Street; a Rapid Access Clinic for patients with testicular cancer; and the Foundation’s Testicular Cancer Awareness programme in schools.

Former professional top flight footballer, Hartson is delighted to lend his support, as he is himself a cancer survivor. In July 2009 Hartson received chemotherapy after being diagnosed with testicular cancer which had spread to his brain, and later to his lungs. His treatment was successful and by December of that year the cancer had been virtually eradicated from his body.

Speaking of his personal experience with cancer, Hartson said “As a professional footballer, I had it all: the fame that earning 51 caps for Wales brought me and the enviable lifestyle that scoring over 100 goals in the green and white of Celtic afforded me. I also had the warning signs of testicular cancer, but I ignored them. I want people to know that everything I went through, and everything I put my loved ones through, could have been avoided had I known more about the disease, particularly, the importance of catching it early.”

The ‘Make Your Mark on Cancer’ walk was started in memory of Cork man, Mark Prendergast who lost his battle with testicular cancer in June 2012, and is organised by a small group of family and friends committed to making a difference. Raising funds, raising awareness and making a difference for cancer patients and their families is the ethos of the organisation.

Mark’s wife, Fiona said “Mark was a firm believer in making the best of every situation which inspired us to come together and help other cancer patients and their families. Turning can’ts into cans, and dreams into plans.”

She continued “We were thrilled with the success of the 2013 ‘Make Your Mark’ walk which raised almost €50,000. Our aim as a group was to ‘Make a Mark on Cancer’ and cancer care in Cork, and every individual who walked, sponsored a walker, made a donation towards the running of the event, or helped out in any way, has a lot to be proud of. We made a Mark… we made a difference, and we’re urging people to come out and do the same again on July 13th.”

This year’s walk will begin at The Viaduct at 10am on Sunday 13th July. Buses sponsored by McCarthy Coaches will leave Kellehers in Bandon from 8.30am, with the last bus at 9.30am. There will also be a starting point in Innishannon for those who want a shorter option, and everyone is welcome to join the walk.

Damien Prendergast, Chairperson of the organising committee said “The walk is not as daunting as it sounds. Last year I was thrilled with the response from fellow participants, we had laughs, we made memories, and the sense of achievement was amazing.”

Micheál Sheridan, CEO, the Mercy Hospital Foundation said “Raising awareness around testicular cancer and the importance of self-checking cannot be underestimated. This event is a fantastic way for people to remember loved ones lost, or indeed battling cancer, while simultaneously raising much needed funds to help the Mercy Hospital Foundation to make a real difference to the lives of patients and their families at the Mercy Hospital.”

Micheál added “Our mission is to support the Hospital in delivering the highest quality of patient care by raising funds to support advancements and innovation in the treatment and care of patients at the Mercy Hospital, the People’s Hospital. We promise to do our very best to provide you with a world class hospital, right on your doorstep, and this is only possible through the help of our supporters and donors, like the all those who ‘Make their Mark on Cancer’.”

‘Make Your Mark on Cancer’ sponsorship cards are now available from committee members, from the Mercy Hospital Foundation, by phoning (086) 4542132 or emailing info@makeyourmark.ie.    For further information or to donate visit www.mercyfundraising.ie or call (021) 4274076.

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