John Hartson is calling on Stirling Albion fans to ‘Grab Life By The Balls’ as his charity’s partnership with the club kicks off for a second season.
John, who won 51 caps with the Welsh international side and also starred for Celtic, Arsenal and West Ham, set up The John Hartson Foundation following his own battle with testicular cancer which spread to his lungs and brain and left him fighting for life.
The 37-year-old, now assistant manager to the Welsh FA, 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 – and I ignored them.
“I want people to know that everything I went through, 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.
“I’m also working hard to raise money to support others affected by cancer, whether it’s a peaceful place to go for treatment or help with practical difficulties that cancer can bring. Because I know first-hand the immeasurable difference that support can make.
“So please, grab life by the balls – literally, in terms of checking yourself regularly and getting anything unusual checked out by your GP, but also by joining in the Foundation’s fundraising efforts to help others living with cancer.”
The Foundation works closely with the Maggie’s cancer caring organisation and one of the first organisations to benefit from a donation was the centre at Singleton Hospital, Swansea, where John was treated.
Earlier this year, the Foundation gave £25,000 to Yorkhill Children’s Charity to help children with cancer and their families – and is working to raise another £25,000 for the organisation.
Figures published recently by Cancer Research UK show more than 96 per cent of men now survive testicular cancer in the UK, compared with less than 70 per cent in the 1970s.
John added: “We’re delighted our partnership with Stirling Albion will continue to help to spread the word about the importance of checking for any lumps and bumps and getting medical attention as soon as possible if there are any worries at all.
“We look forward to working with everyone at the club over the coming season and thank them for their help in raising awareness and funds for the Foundation.”