MICK HARFORD is at the front line of the prostate cancer fight — but vows: “This is not about me.”
Now 62, he has fought for a few causes, first as a 6ft 3in dreadnought of a striker with top clubs and England, then as a manager who restored Luton to the Championship.
Yet this is his biggest fight — against a disease that killed 12,000 men in 2020, with more than 52,000 new cases every year. Harford is one of those cases.
His world came crashing down in August and he stepped away from being assistant manager of the Hatters to undergo two months of radiotherapy.
He says the backing from the club and fans has been ‘overwhelming’ — and tomorrow Luton switch their shirt logo to Prostate Cancer UK for the home match with Cardiff.
A total of 61 staff at the club are also running or cycling every day this month to raise funds to combat the disease.
There have also been constant chants of his name during Harford’s absence from Kenilworth Road.
He told SunSport: “It’s unbelievable that they’re still thinking of me.
“Hopefully by singing my name that will raise awareness of what we, as a club, are trying to do about the disease. I’m so proud of the club.
“If we can help just one person, we’ll be delighted but as time goes on I think we’ll convince a lot of people to have a test.
“I’m shouting from the rooftops for men to get tested.
“Don’t be scared. My message is, ‘Get tested and if there’s a problem it will be sorted out as soon as possible’.”
So he is not alone but there have been lonely moments. He added: “It was a massive shock and my life went on hold.
“There were 39 days of treatment, which was not very pleasant, but I met some interesting characters.
“We supported each other and there was a lot of camaraderie. Sometimes you’re in pain, sometimes you’re not, but you’re always suffering mentally.
I’m shouting from the rooftops for men to get tested. Don’t be scared. My message is, ‘Get tested and if there’s a problem it will be sorted out as soon as possible’.
The mental torture is a nightmare — especially when you’re on your own and you start thinking about things.
“There’s no worse moment in your life than when you’re told you have cancer. There are some very lonely moments — even now.
“You get so tired that you don’t want to be around people. And the mind plays tricks. The mind is a powerful thing.
“The side-effects from the medication are among the worst things — hot sweats, you can’t sleep at night, you get very forgetful.”
Now Harford is aiming to return to work in the new year, when his campaign will go on.
He said: “I’m fighting my battle well, I’m in a good place and I want to help as many people as I can.”
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