Friend of the Owls Gary Haines is taking on the London Marathon this weekend on behalf of Prostate Cancer UK – official charity partner of the Football League. Here is his story:
It’s hard to believe that in less than two days I’ll be pounding the streets of the capital when I run the London Marathon for Prostate Cancer UK. Our 2015 slogan is #notjustavest and that rings so true. This disease kills one man every hour, and has struck among my family.
I’m proud to work for the charity alongside some incredible colleagues and volunteers and am well on my way to raising more than £2,000 to help save men’s lives.
Prostate Cancer UK is the Official Charity Partner of The Football League and amid my role as Sports PR Manager it’s allowed me to continue a long time association with Sheffield Wednesday.
My previous position in the press team at Charlton Athletic saw probably more games against the Owls than anyone else, and they remain as good a club to deal with as any I’ve come across.
Hillsborough was the venue when Chris Powell watched on after taking over as manager of the Addicks, and having worked with the likes of Nicky Weaver and Jose Semedo at The Valley, not to mention working with a man who played for both, Prostate Cancer UK ambassador Mark Bright, that synergy remains to this day.
When we launched the latest incarnation of our Men United campaign earlier this year our slogan was ‘Keeping Friendships Alive’. That couldn’t be more apt. The club has raised a vast amount of money through matchday collections, special tournament days and cycle rides from London to Amsterdam – and that will continue despite the season heading towards its climax.
My own personal challenge stems from working in such an inspirational place with some truly amazing people. Having volunteered at the marathon last year, I decided to take the plunge in 2015 and go into Sunday as fit as I’ve ever been. To achieve my fundraising target I’ve embarked on a variety of personal challenges to boost my cash pot.
The one that has struck the biggest chord has been my #500shirts challenge, which has seen me wear a different shirt every day since 1 January 2014. It started with a quest for me to justify the extortionate amount of shirts in my wardrobe, and has seen me beg, steal and borrow from family, friends and work colleagues.
Several have really bought into it, and from a random selection of bespoke chainsaw designed t-shirts, to Hawaiian offerings and the odd football shirt - including one from Sheffield Wednesday - nothing has been off limits.
Working at this inspirational place with some truly incredible colleagues you simply cannot avoid this massive issue. One in eight men in the UK are affected by prostate cancer and I want to raise awareness, but more importantly money.
Fans can sponsor me on my Just Giving site or search Men United and do something great with their mates.