Everton Football Club is once again supporting a campaign to raiseawareness of cancer among men after former player and Academy Coach, Kevin Sheedy was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
The campaign called Blue September, which is brought to life by men, women and children painting their faces blue, launched in England and Wales this week and is the first national initiative to increase men’s awareness of all cancers.
Research by the Men’s Health Forum reported men are 40 per cent more likely than women to die of cancer and the Blues’ official charity, Everton in the Community, welcomes the initiative following Kevin’s recent diagnosis and the sad loss of Gary Ablett to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on New Year’s Day.
Gary was diagnosed with the illness, a blood cancer, shortly after he had joined Roy Keane's coaching staff at Ipswich Town in 2010. Last year the former defender was quick to back Blue September, which is specifically aimed at raising awareness of all the cancers that can affect men - including lung, prostate, bowel and skin - and the lifestyle choices men can make to reduce their risk.
Ablett also urged men to seek medical advice as soon as possible if they have a worrying symptom.
Speaking last September, Gary said: "I whole heartedly support this campaign.
"I thought it can't be me, it just can't. I felt so strong - I had played for the best two teams in the world, coached for the best two teams in the world. It can't be me. But unfortunately it was.
“If you feel anything, you need to get it checked out, don't mess around. Don't ever think it can't be you because it could be. Cancer doesn't discriminate - it can attack anyone at any time," added Gary.
For the past three years, Everton’s Men’s Health programme has also been working to provide men aged 18-35 years with a pathway towards a more positive and healthier lifestyle. The project tackles health themes covering obesity, exercise, nutrition, smoking cessation, cancer awareness, substance and alcohol misuse, mental and sexual health.
Throughout September, various events will takeplace at football and rugby grounds, workplaces, hospitals and other venues across England and Wales in support of Blue September.
For more information about Everton’s Men’s Health programme visit www.evertonfc.com/community.