Luton Town legend Mick Harford has always been known for being a fighter on the pitch - and now vows to continue being one off the pitch as he battles against prostate cancer.
It was announced on Monday that our assistant-manager Mick, 62, will undergo a course of radiotherapy treatment starting in mid-August and since, he has admitted that the outpour of support has been ‘overwhelming’, but yet his main aim is to push the message out to others to get themselves tested.
“Obviously I want to get better, I don’t want people to contract this disease. It’s a terrible disease and getting cancer is not very nice, but I want to encourage people to go and get tested, to make people aware of the disease, anyone can get it.
“Personally, I started thinking about the Luton Town fans. There’s 10,000 fans in the stadium, not all are men, but the people who turn up to Kenilworth Road, if I can help any of them, then I’ll be delighted. If I can help anyone, anywhere, that is the main reason we decided as a football club to put it out there and make people aware of it.”
A 30-second online risk checker is available at prostatecanceruk.org/risk-checker.
More than 11,500 men die from prostate cancer in the UK each year and Big Mick understands the fight he is up against: “This is the biggest fight. Mentally this is really tough because it is always on your mind. You might want to take your mind off it somewhere or somehow, but it is very difficult, it is always in the back of your mind. I did fight my way to have a career and hopefully I can fight my way through this one.”
As previously stated, the support from the Luton fans and the further football world has been incredible for Mick to see and he even revealed that he had a message from Sir Alex Ferguson, among thousands of others.
“We had a golf day Wednesday for my best friend Andy King, who died of heart disease five years ago, so it was really poignant. We were going around the course and I got a message from Sir Alex Ferguson and it still makes me emotional now to think that he contacted me and was giving me his best wishes.
“It was really amazing that he did that. We had a little text conversation. I’m just really, really proud and the respect I have for him to contact me was amazing. The things he said about being strong was brilliant and I can’t thank him enough.
📱 Mick Harford on his golf day texts from a @ManUtd legend...— LutonTown (@LutonTown) July 23, 2021
🗣 "We were going around the course and I got a message from Sir Alex Ferguson. It still makes me emotional now to think he contacted me and was giving me his best wishes."
@ProstateUK | #MenWeAreWithYou | #COYH
“I had a message this morning from Dennis Tueart, who is one of my heroes at Sunderland Football Club. I used to watch him when I was a kid. He’s not much older than me but he’s one of my heroes. Just for him to get in touch with me is fantastic.
“The LMA have been in touch with me, trying to help me and all the organisations, the PFA, LMA. Just the outpouring of love, I didn’t expect.
“I just want to pay it back by trying to help and just get a simple message out there to the public, to try and help them, to encourage them and make them aware of it.”
Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer may contact Prostate Cancer UK’s Specialist Nurses in confidence on 0800 074 8383 or online via the Live Chat instant messaging service: www.prostatecanceruk.org.
As well as his own health, the importance of spreading the message to others is firmly on Mick’s mind: “It could be anyone, anyone over a certain age and I’m really pleased that people came to me who knew before it went out, a few of my friends had went and had the PSA test.
“Thankfully they came back negative. If the general public have any thoughts, or think they may have it or any symptoms, please go and get tested. It doesn’t cost you anything, just a bit of your time and hopefully you will find out and make sure you are okay.
Continuing, he said: “You know what men are like, they leave it and leave it and leave it. I’ve had friends who’ve said, ‘I won’t go to the doctors, I don’t want to bother them’. But please, please get yourself tested. It’s so important that you do that. “It might be nothing, but just go and do it. It’ll save you a lot of heartache."
Symptoms of prostate cancer can include:
- Needing to wee more frequently, often during the night
- Needing to rush to the toilet
- Difficulty in starting to wee
- Straining or taking a long time whilst weeing
- Weak flow
- Feeling that your bladder has not been emptied fully
- Blood in urine or blood in semen
For information about symptoms and to find out about PSA screening, please follow the guidance on the link attached from the NHS.