This is my story.
From playing football in Year 6, to watching my team in the play-off final at Wembley, football is a big part of my life. The season sets the rhythm of the year. It is the special bond between dad and army daughter that means I follow his hometown team and that whenever I arrive at that city and go to the ground, feel at 'home'.
Diagnosed with bowel cancer at age 42 and given less than a 15% chance of survival, dad and I took solace watching matches together. Though it was very traumatic, we are thankful every day that he survived cancer. The quick admission and treatment overseen by an amazing team of clinicians were key.
Tragically I have lost a university friend Caroline to cancer, far too young, and know how devastating this is. She had a zest for life that was second to none and is greatly missed.
We know cancer affects too many. As a result, I've been driven to help find a cure for cancer and ensure as much money as possible goes towards research and finding more effective, specific treatments with less side effects. I've entered many events raising money for 'Cancer Research UK'.
I've dedicated my working life to improving life chances of children and feel passionate that they are supported especially at times of need. 'Sebastian's Action Trust' does magical work in helping children and families through very difficult times.
Football Shirts For Charity is driven by our joint motivation to support these two special causes and be #MakingADifference. Fitness, football and fun are key to wellbeing. Connecting with people and hearing their stories is so exciting.
We believe through becoming an owner of a shirt and/or getting involved in our events, you are living and creating an interesting story which we would love to hear, as you become one of our 'Football Shirts For Charity' supporters.
This is my story.
Ivan Bicknell. RIP. This is largely for you. Ivan was my friend. We shared a huge passion for climbing mountains and football. We played football together for about 20 years. We both loved a good tackle, often crunching into each other! Unlike me, he was a big, fit, strong lad. I often came off worse!
In Feb 2019, Ivan suddenly announced to the world that via a long journey of misdiagnosis, it had emerged that he had Stage 4 colorectal cancer, with a prognosis of less than 18 months. Whilst Ivan remained incredibly strong and positive about the fight ahead - and boy did he fight, he very sadly passed away on May 6 2020.
This project is partly my attempt at a dedication to Ivan. My attempt to do something to honour his name - and join the fight to beat cancer.
I’ve been a teacher for most of my adult life and off the back of that, I have had the huge privilege of attending the 'Sebastian’s Action Trust' care homes for seriously and terminally ill children, seeing and hearing all about the incredible work they do at first hand to support families is unthinkable turmoil. They need and deserve as much support as they can get. Their story is incredible.
Since the age of seven, I have always been so excited about the new season's football shirt release - and I still get that feeling of excitement and anticipation every single season.
Similarly, as a player, football shirts have always held very special memories.
Football has been the soundtrack to my life - and it feels good to combine this huge passion with doing something positive.
You are supporting 'Cancer Research UK' and 'Sebastian’s Action Trust' as you become one of our 'Football Shirts For Charity' supporters. Thank you.