My year of fighting prostate cancer with the Minster Men
Meet York City fan Dan Pentland, who joined the fight against prostate cancer last season and incorporated his support for Prostate Cancer UK into his home and away trips with his beloved Minster Men. He tells us about a memorable year of writing awareness-raising articles for match-day programmes, leading sponsored walks with fans, and getting a whole stand renamed – all to help stop prostate cancer being a killer.
It was a childhood dream to visit all 92 football league grounds. And after 14-and-a-half years, I achieved my dream on 9 May 2015, when I made Villa Park my final ground visit and witnessed the homeside’s 1-0 win over West Ham United.
With a life goal completed, I needed a new challenge. And just weeks later I joined Men United – an army of people fighting prostate cancer, which affects one in eight men in their lifetime and claims the lives of over 10,000 men every year. As a York City season ticket holder and avid football fan, my vision was to help promote awareness and raise money for the cause through football writing.
I helped reach out to thousands of football supporters by creating a link between Prostate Cancer UK and York City. The away stand at York City’s Bootham Crescent ground was renamed 'The Prostate Cancer UK Stand', which made positive national headlines for the charity. And I placed collection tins in the club bar area.
I was also invited to write a 'Minster-Men United' article in the club’s match-day programme every home game. It reviewed my away days with York City, while providing fans with the latest charity news and links about how to find out more about prostate cancer.
I organised a 12-mile coastal fundraising walk from Exmouth Town FC to Exeter City’s St James’ Park ground. It was on the morning of York City’s away fixture at Exeter City last August, and I was joined by a handful of Exeter City fans. The event proved to be a huge success, raising over £500 for Prostate Cancer UK. A few months after the walk, I was contacted by one of the participating Exeter City fans who said he'd been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Luckily, he caught the disease at a stage early enough to treat and has thankfully made a full recovery.
Across the season I raised further funds through selling Prostate Cancer UK pin badges, organising a Shirt2Work day, and doing the EURO 2016 pontoon sweepstake. I’ve managed to raise a total of £822 for the year, after originally just focussing on raising awareness of the disease with York City.
As I begin my second season I hope to organise another fundraising walk and plan to continue to promote the charity through York City. I'll support Prostate Cancer UK’s involvement in Non-League Day and pledge to donate 50p for each goal that York City score during the 2016/2017 season.
Men United is the ultimate team. Football fans and fundraisers from across the UK are always welcomed and are encouraged to contribute their ideas. If you would like to follow my experiences with the charity, find out more about becoming a volunteer. You too can make a difference to the future of men’s health.