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Dons fans set to walk the long road to Wembley in bid to beat Prostate Cancer

You can do your bit for national campaign by taking part in March for Men activities

26 March 2018

AFC Wimbledon fans will set out on the road to Wembley on Sunday 22 July with Prostate Cancer UK unveiling an even bigger and better March for Men walking programme.

After a successful launch of the charity's flagship walking campaign last year raised more than £1 million, there is even more reason for people to put their best foot forward and combat the most common cancer in men.

For the first time, the number of men dying from prostate cancer every year has overtaken the number of women dying from breast cancer, making Prostate Cancer the third biggest cancer killer in the UK.

Stepping up to the challenge, the leading men's health charity will be recruiting an army of walkers representing AFC Wimbledon and clubs from the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and Non-League in London and the South East in four mega marathon marches.

The Football March for Men will see legions of walkers setting off on the road to Wembley, starting out from West Ham United, Millwall, St Albans City and Sutton United, and heading to the home of English football. The march to the arch will take in 15 clubs and create a fabulous finale.

The event has been backed by Neal Ardley, while season ticket holder Kevin Webber, a man living with terminal prostate cancer, urged fans to get involved.

Neal said: "It's great to see the AFC Wimbledon supporters marching again for Prostate Cancer UK, a massively worthy cause. Football rivalry goes out the window when you hear stats like one man dies every 45 minutes so we will proudly walk side by side with our neighbours to promote this hugely important issue.

"The club have been big supporters of the charity's work for many years including our own Kevin Webber, a man whose devastating diagnosis has fuelled some incredible fundraising feats. I'm proud to continue wearing their Man of Men badge on sidelines up and down the country, and marching to Wembley will allow us to raise money and awareness to fight back against the deadliest opponent of all."

Kevin (who is pictured above with Neal Ardley) was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in late 2014 and told he could have as little as two years to live, but he has raised thousands of pounds for the charity in a series of epic endurance events.

He said: "As someone who walked with Jeff Stelling last year, I know the value of these amazing walks and I want to thank any fan of Wimbledon – and anyone else – for getting involved. By doing it they are indirectly helping my boys. That's because the risk of them getting prostate cancer is one-in-four as I have had it. So the funds raised will hopefully find that elusive cure before my kids have to worry about it.

"This diagnosis has made me realise how much of life there is to be lived, ill or healthy. I want to inspire everyone to push themselves a bit more in life, as the mental rewards are so uplifting. In ultra running they say: 'better to start and not finish than never start at all'. The hardest part is putting your foot on the start-line, whatever that start-line may be for the individual. So what's stopping you?"

National League high-flyers Sutton United kick-off the South West London leg, which sees visits to the Cherry Red Records Stadium and Brentford, while another starting point is Clarence Park, home of National League South, St Albans City. Walkers will head to Watford and Barnet before the final stretch to HA9.

The South London starting point is The Den, home to Championship side Millwall, who earned national acclaim when they put the Prostate Cancer UK logo on their first team strip in 2013/14. The route also visits Crystal Palace, Fulham, current Premier League champions Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers before the finale.

London Stadium, home to the Premier League Hammers, will be the backdrop to the East London leg of the march, the route also visiting National League Leyton Orient before popping in on North London neighbours Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. Indeed, Spurs fans will get a glimpse of the new-look White Hart Lane before the day ends at their current borrowed base, Wembley.

The Football March for Men will see hundreds of football fans take on the baton from Jeff Stelling after the Sky Sports presenter, flanked by a cast of celebrities and civilians, walked more than 650 miles across 25 marathons the length and breadth of the country in the last two years, raising £800,000. After his tireless efforts, the 62-year-old is taking a breather in 2018, but he has challenged fans across the capital and the South East to get involved in one of the Football March for Men events.

Legendary former England and Tottenham Hotspur keeper and Prostate Cancer UK ambassador Ray Clemence has also backed the event, and he will meet the walkers at Wembley, a place he knows very well.

Prostate Cancer UK's march to the arch in 2018 provides a fitting climax to an exciting climax of walking events as the charity extends its footprint across the UK.

On Father's Day weekend, last year, the inaugural March for Men events saw over 1,600 walkers take to the parks of London, Leeds and Glasgow raising more than a quarter of a million pounds.

Now, across seven cities throughout the UK in June, families, friends and loved ones will be pulling on their walking boots and converging on picturesque parklands up and down the country – with a London event in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Saturday, June 16th.

Starting with a North West double header in Manchester and Liverpool on Sunday, June 10th, the countrywide quest to fight back against a disease that kills one man every 45 minutes continues across Father's Day weekend (16-17 June), with London, Bristol and Glasgow hosting the family-friendly walks. The marches continue in Leeds on June 23rd before concluding a week later in Nottingham, on Saturday, 30 June.

To sign up to a March for Men or to find out more information, visit the Prostate Cancer UK website.

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