Vice-Chairman Barry Kilby calls for a nationwide testing programme for Prostate CancerHello everyone and welcome to today’s game.
As you now probably know, last weekend here at Turf Moor, we held a Prostate Cancer testing clinic, in association with Cheshire-based Gary Steele MBE and his team of qualified phlebotomists.
It is the second, annual event, and last year 273 men undertook the simple blood test to offer an early warning that the cancer may be present.
As a result, 29 men were advised to see their GPs and two found to be extremely serious, ultimately leading to life-saving treatment.
This year, I am convinced we will have helped save more lives.
However, firstly, I want to apologise personally to all the men who turned on Saturday and did not get tested.
We simply were not geared up to manage the incredible response we had and it was very unfortunate that we had to turn people away.
Almost 500 men were tested, but regrettably a similar amount had to be turned away through a lack of testing kits.
When you consider the increase on last year, we were clearly victims of our own success, but
I can assure everyone that we will host another event here - and next time we will scale things up to cater for a greater turn-out.
I was absolutely staggered by the response, and the professional people who came long to conduct the tests were also amazed. They had never seen anything like it at previous testing clinics.
I guess the response from the public proves what we all maybe thought, that men are notoriously slow in going to see the doctor on their own initiative to have a test.
However if you put that test into a football-environment, which traditionally is a place where lots of men come together, and add in all the publicity that a football club can generate and the way is communicates and resonates with local people, the response is likely to be much more favourable.
I would love to think this could now be replicated right throughout football and there would be thousands of men tested and hundreds, if not thousands of lives saved.
It is certainly something I will initiate because I believe in it that strongly.
Prostate Cancer already have links with football, but more in terms of raising awareness and money, not in the actual testing of men.
The evidence we have shown is that football can have a huge part to play and I really think this is something that should be looked at and could be a great success.
Perhaps even Gordon Taylor and the Professional Footballers’ Association could even contribute to the cost.
There are all those avenues to explore and at the end of the day this WILL save lives.
Surely football should do all it can to make sure that happens?