Sharks announce charity link-up
South West Rugby League champions Devon Sharks have formed a partnership with Prostate Cancer UK, one of the country’s leading men’s healthcare charities.
The tie up will see the charity taking pride of place on the front of the Sharks’ shirt, as well as in all the Sharks publicity for at least the next two years, with the club aiming to help raise the profile of the charity, as well as raise funds to help fight the disease.
Prostate cancer kills one man every hour and the number of men with the disease is rising at an alarming rate.
Already the most common cancer in men, it is predicted to become the most common cancer of all in the UK by 2030. Prostate Cancer UK helps to support men and their families affected by the disease, fund vital research into tests, treatments and the causes of prostate cancer.
For years, prostate cancer has been badly underfunded. By raising awareness of the disease, the charity aims to get a better deal for men with prostate cancer. This year, the charity is investing £7 million, their biggest spend so far. Devon Sharks would like to contribute to this worthy cause.
Lee Kirkman Sharks CEO said, “This is the centenary year of the game first being played in South Devon.
“There is a huge television campaign, fronted by Bill Bailey, currently being aired to raise awareness of the charity, and this is what inspired the club to form the partnership.
“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, and fourth most common cancer overall.
“Yet the funding allocated to this form of the disease is only twentieth in the league table of annual cancer research spend per case diagnosed.
“This is clearly not enough for a disease that is so destructive. We all feel that it is our duty to help fight this, I mean any of our squad could be at risk of contracting prostate cancer.”
Kirkman added, “At Sharks, our aim is to become a community club, and part of our role in that is to not only build the club for a few guys to throw a ball around, but do something that benefits the whole community.
“This partnership is a part of that. We hope with the exposure this brings, people will see that we are serious in our aims.
“There are plenty of ideas floating around and there will be some events coming up that will involve much of the local community, and not all of it will be based around rugby.
“The main idea will be to bring in money to Prostate Cancer UK, whilst raising our profile.”
Interest in the partnership is already growing, with Sky Sports Ruby League presenter, Bill Arthur joining the Sharks fight. Arthur was himself diagnosed with prostate cancer just over a year ago, and volunteers for the charity.
Arthur said, “I think it’s great that Devon Sharks want to get involved with the charity as it’s really important to raise awareness of prostate cancer, and sport is a great way to do that.”
Prostate Cancer UK are sending the club some Opro gumshields for the players to help advertise the work they do, and are excited about link up.
Since the partnership was formed the response has been huge, so much so that the club have asked Christine Fairchild to come back and take on the role of charity coordinator. Fairchild was Vice Chair of the Sharks from 2006 when the Sharks were founded, until 2011 when family commitments took her away from the club.
Christine is happy to take this on this project and the aim is to hold a number of events that will involve the whole of the South Devon Rugby League community and beyond.
Anyone wanting to donate to Prostate Cancer UK can do so by texting CRACK to 70004 to give £5. For more information see www.prostatecanceruk.org