Rugby players bare all on the pitch in bid to fight cancer
PUBLISHED: 11:07 04 November 2015 | UPDATED: 11:07 04 November 2015
Members of Ipswich Rugby Club are baring all in a battle against cancer as they pose for a naked calendar to raise funds for charity.
The calendar was organised by team member John Parnell, whose family was turned upside down by the disease earlier this year.
“On June 13, my mum was admitted to hospital, June 26 told she had cancer, July 20 had surgery,” he said.
“On August 7 we were told that she is cancer free.
“Everyone has been indirectly or directly affected by cancer. I have played at Ipswich Rugby Club since I was seven. I know others in the team have been affected and wanted to support them in their battles.
“After receiving the fantastic care and help of the doctors and nurses my mum is OK and well. I hope that no-one loses a loved one to cancer, so I decided to fundraise.”
The bulk of the funds will be donated to Prostate Cancer UK, with a share also being used to help the team attend the Ibiza Beach Rugby Festival in May.
“We are all confident lads and a naked calendar is a fun way to get our kit off, fundraise for our tour and support a dedicated charity simultaneously,” said Mr Parnell. “When I told the players my idea it boosted morale at the club, having not had much luck on the playing field recently.
“We would like to raise as much as possible, £1,000 being a great milestone.”
And so, after a Saturday morning training session on October 24, the team stripped out of their kits to pose for the camera. We have all been naked in front of each other before, in the shower and changing room, but never in front of the camera,” said Mr Parnell.
“This was nerve-wracking at first, but we got used to it after a while.”
Team member Tom Ives said: “I spend Monday to Friday working for an NHS end of life team, in which I witness the effects end stage cancer has on people and their loved ones.
“I felt the cause was more than just, given the pain and upset caused by such a horrific condition.”
Coach Shaun Bell added: “In the UK, about one in eight men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives – theoretically, two members of each team.”
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