Have the strength to find out more

Former footballer Viv Anderson tells us what he’s learnt through sport

What’s your connection to prostate cancer?

I’m now just past 60 years of age and I’d never been tested before, so being involved with Prostate Cancer UK gave me the inspiration to get up and get tested and make sure I’m healthy, so I can spend more time with my children.

Last year I also took part in the Football to Amsterdam bike ride which was great fun. I got to do it with some of my old teammates like Les Ferdinand, so it was like a cycling reunion! We raised £4,000 so I’m going to give it another go this year and try and build on that, especially as it’s for such a good cause.

We feel embarrassed talking about ourselves so we avoid it all together.

Why are you supporting our campaign?

I think that the more people can do, like me or anybody in the public eye, to raise awareness of prostate cancer, the better it’s going to be for everybody.

Where do you draw your strength from?

I think being a footballer gave me a lot of strength, as you have to be physically and mentally strong. When you’re playing in front of thousands of fans every week, it’s quite a high pressured environment and you have to perform. What I learnt through football I have applied to other areas of my life – like on the Football to Amsterdam bike ride, at one point I felt like giving up, but the competitive sportsman in me couldn’t do that so I kept going!

Why do you think men don’t like talking about their health?

I think it’s inbred in us. When I think about me and my mates, we mainly talk about football or other sports. I suppose it’s easier to talk about your interests or hobbies. We feel embarrassed talking about ourselves so we avoid it all together.

What advice would you give to other black men?

For me, being stronger knowing more is going to your GP, asking questions, finding out more information and hopefully you’ll be better for it.

(Photograph of Viv Anderson © Dennis Morris assisted by Bolade Banjo)

 

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