David Attree tells us how the death of his father-in-law earlier this year prompted him to write and film a powerful poem for us, hoping to raise awareness among his fellow football fans and pay tribute to anyone who's lost their dad to the disease.
When Brighton & Hove Albion host Arsenal on Boxing Day, the match will hold extra significance for David Attree.
Hailing from Brighton but a big fan of the Gunners, the 45-year-old has pertinent memories of the AMEX, after recording an emotional message to dads affected by prostate cancer while sitting in the stadium’s stands.
“Raising awareness of prostate cancer is a big deal and I’m keen to do whatever I can to spread the message to men about the disease,” says David, whose father-in-law, Pat, was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2013 and sadly died of the disease in July 2018.
“We'll not admire Pat’s garden again, complete DIY tasks under his meticulous guidance, or watch his grandchildren’s faces as he flops to the floor and becomes a multitude of animals, each with a different voice.”
Prostate cancer affects one in eight men, and those odds worsen to one in four, if you are a black man. Those over 50 and with a family history also face a higher than average risk. So David's idea for the poem came from imagining the number of men inside a stadium that would be affected by the disease.
To me, the badge is a reminder, a comfort, and a call to action
“I can visualise them on a screen at every stadium in the country,” he says. “Over the last couple of seasons, the ‘Man of Men’ badge has become a familiar feature on the sidelines at games and in managers’ post-match interviews, as well as Soccer Saturday pundit shots and on social media platforms.
“I wear one all the time now; it has become as much of my routine as putting a watch on my wrist, and I feel something important is missing if I don’t have it. To me, the badge is a reminder, a comfort, and a call to action.”
In June 2019, David will ride in our Football to Amsterdam cycling event for a third time – and he will be joined by Pat’s daughter, Sara, as well as two other cousins. The quartet, Pat Maskens’ Marvels, aim to raise £5,000, while David has already pledged to take on an unusual request to boost their fundraising pot.
“One of the most ardent and vocal Spurs fans I made friends with on the 2016 ride contacted me to say that, if I wear a Spurs shirt on the first day of the ride, he would put a large donation into out team’s pot,” he explains.
“It won’t be a comfortable fit and it has been hinted that it’s going to be a custom made mickey-take but I agreed, and he donated as promised.”
Buy your 'Man of Men' badge at our online shop now.