Photo: Sean Turpin
Inspirational charity fundraiser Kevin Webber visited the Horsfall Stadium yesterday prior to the match against Kidderminster Harriers.
Kevin, who was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer four years ago, embarked on a quest to walk to several of the Vanarama National League grounds in order to raise money and awareness for Prostate Cancer UK.
The walk, which saw Kevin visit grounds all over the north of England, concluded when he arrived at The Shay for yesterday’s televised National League clash between F.C Halifax Town and Chesterfield.
However, before visiting Halifax, he was welcomed to the Horsfall Stadium for his penultimate ground visit.
After being presented with a Bradford (Park Avenue) replica home shirt and treatment from the club’s medical team, he prepared himself for the walk to Halifax with some food that had been donated by local businesses Regal Bakery and Tiffin Foods.
Kevin then sat down with us to tell his story and explain the reasoning behind the mammoth challenge:
“I was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer four years ago and they said I might only live for two years. After spending a couple of months crying, I worked out that I could spend the rest of my life crying or I could try and do something with my life.
“I used to run a bit but I realised I could run a lot more so I started running. I ran across the Sahara three times, I’ve ran across the Arctic, and I’ve done loads of races in countries I never thought I’d go to. Inspired by Jeff Stelling, who does marathons for Prostate Cancer UK, I then ran from AFC Wimbledon to Wembley with him.
“I then realised that even as well as running, I can walk as well so in the following year I did fifteen with Jeff. That inspired me again so then I started getting from people from work to do marathon walks and we did seven in seven days this year.
“On one of those walks, I met Michael Tattersall (CEO of the National League) and he said that he knew more about prostate cancer than he did before. He told me that the National League should be supporting Prostate Cancer UK more and he suggested that the charity could become the league’s headline national charity. I asked him what I could do for him and we came up with the idea that I could walk round some of the league’s grounds.
“Vanarama then kindly started donating £50 to the charity every time a car or van is leased from them and that will have produced a big number that will be presented to the charity at the F.C Halifax Town match this afternoon. They asked me to receive the cheque at the game and it was then that I decided to walk to the game from the local club.
“I started at Blyth Spartans and I’ve been to Gateshead, Hartlepool United, Spennymoor Town, Harrogate Town, Darlington, York City, Guiseley and I’m now here at Bradford (Park Avenue).
“What’s been amazing is that without exception, there’s been someone at each club that I’ve touched in a way I didn’t even think was possible.
“My march was delayed for an hour as I was asked to speak to Harrogate Town’s first-team and I spoke to them all about prostate cancer. Luckily, they’re too young to get prostate cancer but they have dads, granddads and uncles. One in eight men get prostate cancer. If you’re black, it’s one in four men. If you have a relative with prostate cancer, it’s one in four. One man dies from the illness once every forty-five minutes. It’s a scary thing and it’s really important that we get the message out there.
“I’ve loved the walk. I’m a bit tired and my feet are sore but every bit of pain is worth it and I just hope that someone, somewhere, has realised that they’re maybe going to the toilet a lot and decide to go the doctors. Sadly, they might have prostate cancer but if they go early, they will live. Unfortunately, I will die but it’s a very curable illness if you go early enough and that’s why awareness is so important.”