Ablett Backs Blue September
Everton FA Cup winner backs cancer awareness campaign.
Everton FA Cup winner Gary Ablett is backing a campaign to encourage male awareness of cancer after living with the disease himself for the past year.
Blue September is specifically aimed at raising awareness of cancers that can affect men - including lung, prostate, bowel and skin - and the lifestyle choices males can make to reduce their risk. It also encourages men to seek medical advice as soon as possible if they have a worrying symptom.
And former Blue Ablett, who was part of the 1995 Everton FA Cup final side which defeated Manchester United, is urging male fans to get medical advice if they are worried about a change in their physical well-being.
He also played for Liverpool and coached at both clubs, as well as managing Stockport County.
Gary, 45, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma last year. The illness, a blood cancer, struck shortly after he had joined Roy Keane's coaching staff at Ipswich Town.
It was something he never imagined would ever affect him, which is why he is backing Blue September.
"I wholeheartedly support this campaign," said Gary when he spoke exclusively to evertontv earlier this week.
"I thought it can't be me, it just can't. I felt so strong - I had played for the best two teams in the world, coached for the best two teams in the world. It can't be me. But unfortunately it was.
"In terms of what I've been through with the different regimes of the chemotherapy, the blood transfusions, the platelet transfusions, eight radiotherapy sessions, the lumbar punches and I had a bone marrow transplant in January 2011...the list can go on and on."
He added: "If you feel anything, you need to get it checked out. I've done it previously in the past when I had cancer in my toe.
"Get it checked, don't mess around. Don't ever think it can't be you because it could be. Cancer doesn't discriminate - it can attack anyone at any time."
For the past two years, Everton's Premier League Men's Health programme has also been working to provide males aged 18-35 years with a pathway towards a more positive and healthier lifestyle.
Based at the Everton Active Family Centre, Goodison Park, the programme helps men from the local community to access a wide range of resources such as gym facilities, health information, mentoring and advice from trained coaches.
More information about Blue September can be found at www.blueseptember.org.uk. For more information about Everton's Premier League Men's Health programme visit www.evertonfc.com/community .
An extended interview with Gary Ablett will be available on evertontv next week.