As the Official Charity Partner of The Football League, we at Prostate Cancer UK have been staggered by the generosity of supporters up and down the UK. David Annand has definitely gone the extra mile for the 250,000 men living with prostate cancer. Here's his story...
This interview featured in the npower League 2 Play-Off Final programme on Saturday 18th May 2013.
My name is David Annand and I have been a Gillingham fan since 1973, and I've been a Prostate Cancer UK supporter since 2011 when, at the age of 49, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
What motivated you to complete the challenge, David?
The fact that one in eight men in the UK will get prostate cancer and yet most men don't even know where their prostate is let alone what it does. Look around Wembley today and you do the maths. That's what motivates me.
Can you tell us why you decided to take on the challenge to help support men with prostate cancer and what was involved?
I undertook my 500-mile walk around Football League grounds simply to raise awareness of just how common prostate cancer is. I wanted to reach as many men as I could and for them to acknowledge that, not to be embarrassed, to discuss it and confront it. Over the past year I have helped to raise awareness in front of over 500,000 football fans.
What were the key highlights of the challenge for you?
There have been many but my favourite would be the fantastic reception given to me by the Brighton and Hove Albion fans during my last two laps of the pitch at West Ham United. On mass, when I reached the away end, they all stood and applauded. And then I was lucky enough to be Prostate Cancer UK's Guest of Honour at the Capital One Cup Final and was privileged to be introduced to the teams on the pitch. Both unforgettable moments.
What did you find was the most difficult part of the challenge?
When doing an awareness campaign over 12 months it does take up a lot of your time. It's not just the walking 500 miles but the organising of those walks and the constant communication via social media to keep the campaign alive and fresh in everyone's mind. I have a demanding full-time job that does involve some weekend work, too, so it's been a challenge to fit everything in.
How much did you raise and who was your biggest supporter?
So far I've raised over £5,000 and this has come from family, friends, business associates and fans from clubs all over the country. My biggest supporter has been my wife, who has walked virtually every mile by my side. The love, support and encouragement of family and close friends has made it all achievable.
Do you have plans to undertake any future challenges?
My biggest challenge right now is my own personal battle with prostate cancer. Life tends to throw up the unexpected. If you had told me I would be walking 500 miles around football league grounds up and down the country over a year ago I would never have believed you.
To watch a video of David's challenge, please click here
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For all the latest news on Prostate Cancer UK, The Football League's Official Charity Partner for the 2012/13 season, please click here