John Heyworth

Football volunteer leader

As well as being a Burnley fan, John is a volunteer leader for our Prostate Cancer UK match days in The Football League.

He is spreading the word to ensure more football fans are aware of the issues they may be faced with at some point in their lives. 

This is John's story:

"I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 59 but my cancer journey started some 10 years before that.

I had a real problem with ‘peeing’. My issue was frequency, I needed to go at least every hour. I went to my GP many times only to be told I was too young for it to be prostate cancer and there was nothing that could be done for me.

I was a senior manager at work and it was very embarrassing having to leave meetings to dash to the loo!

Eventually, I insisted that I be tested and bingo…I had prostate cancer.

After a couple of scans it was thought the cancer was contained within the prostate so I decided to have it removed.

It was a long operation, seven hours, and a tad uncomfortable for a few days afterwards. After a couple of weeks I was back to normal and soon able to go to the gym and do distance running, one of my passions.

I saw a link to Prostate Cancer UK on my football club’s web site, Burnley FC, and decided I wanted to do something positive to raise awareness and help people who may be experiencing what I went through.

I decided to become a volunteer. Initially I wanted to do Peer Support and Awareness. I was trained by the charity in both and now feel competent to talk to anyone about prostate cancer.

I have also taken part in bucket collections at four football grounds. I ran the Manchester 10k to raise money and more recently I have been campaigning for the charity at the Party Conferences.

I had three very interesting days at the Lib Dem conference in Glasgow where I met many MP’s, MSP’s and MEP’s and was able to inform them and seek their support for Prostate Cancer UK's Quality Checklist. I even got to play table football with Vince Cable, who beat me 3-1…well, when campaigning, you want them to feel good!

I am now retired with lots of time to spare so I have expanded my voluntary role by becoming involved in a major initiative to help the 280,000 survivors of prostate cancer.

The project is managed by the charity and involves a series of work-streams lead by some of the country’s top clinicians and academics.

I find this intellectually stimulating and hopefully after a couple of years of trials the initiatives will be launched nationally and globally to the benefit of survivors."

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