Prostate Cancer UK's annual Football to Amsterdam 2017 bike ride, in conjunction with the EFL, is under way!
Preston North End manager Simon Grayson and Queens Park Rangers director of football Les Ferdinand are among 400 riders taking to the saddle to raise funds for the EFL's Official Charity Partner.
Grayson led 180 riders off from Barnsley's Oakwell home while 220 more, including Ferdinand, set off from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park's Lee Valley VeloPark in London. Former pros such as Alan Smith, Viv Anderson and Danny Wilson are also taking part in the million-pound cycling event.
Ferdinand said: “Football to Amsterdam has been an amazing success over the past four years and I’m really looking forward to saddling up for the first time to raise money for a charity close to my heart, Prostate Cancer UK.
“I’ll admit, prostate cancer wasn’t on my radar a decade ago; I knew nothing about it at all. Now I do. I lost my grandfather to prostate cancer and it’s also affected other members of my family too. I’ll be 50 in December, and need to set an example to my family and my peers, so I go and see my doctor every year without fail.”
Grayson added: “I am delighted to support Prostate Cancer UK, a charity which is very close to my heart, and I’m looking forward to joining the ride for a second time in honour of my late friend Steve Garbett.
“His brave 10-year fight opened my eyes about the dangers of this disease, and I’m proud to wear my Prostate Cancer UK ‘Man of Men’ pin badge on the touchline every game to raise awareness. That man represents you, me and everyone affected by this disease.”
Starting out as a charity challenge with 35 riders in 2013, the Football to Amsterdam bike ride from Prostate Cancer UK and the EFL reached an incredible £1million cumulative fundraising landmark last June, as 350 riders rode 145 miles to stop prostate cancer being a killer.
James Beeby, Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Les Ferdinand is an iconic figure in British football and a legendary part of Queens Park Rangers history. So it’s fitting he will be leading his club into Europe amid a record-breaking peloton.
“We are proud to be Official Charity Partner of the EFL, and clubs from across the football family have consistently shown a brilliant demonstration of what we call Men United: people joining one team to fight a common opposition – prostate cancer.
Ben Wright, Commercial Director of the EFL, said: “We are proud of our long term charity partnership with Prostate Cancer UK and, fresh from breaking through the £1million fundraising barrier this year, we can’t wait to saddle up for the 2017 edition of Football to Amsterdam.
“The EFL football family will always be Men United, and our continued work with Prostate Cancer UK again proves that the beautiful game can make a massive difference.”
Many people are unaware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It’s a huge issue that cannot be ignored.
In 2016, one man an hour will die from prostate cancer in the UK. That’s more than 11,000 men this year. Based on current trends, if we ignore prostate cancer and do nothing, this number will rise to over 14,500 men a year by 2026.
People are urged to search Men United and join the fight.