Watford FC goalkeeper Ben Foster has become a Patron of blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia.
The 35-year-old former England International shot-stopper has been an active supporter of the charity since taking part in Cure Leukaemia’s London 2 Paris bike ride in 2015 to aid his recovery from a knee injury.
Having cycled alongside the charity’s co-founders Professor Charlie Craddock CBE and Graham Silk, CEO James McLaughlin and fellow Patron Geoff Thomas that year, Ben was fully immersed in the charity and has been keen to help ever since.
Ben, who lives near Leamington Spa, has helped raised over £10,000 for Cure Leukaemia through auctioning the match-worn shirts of his Premier League opponents which this season have included Liverpool’s Alisson Becker and Manchester United’s David de Gea.
He has also supported Cure Leukaemia with numerous video messages for patients and supporters, helped the charity launch its £1m Appeal to expand the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s globally significant Centre for Clinical Haematology in early 2017 and he donated a plaque for three years on a special wall that will soon be installed at the Centre in Birmingham.
Speaking at a recent event in Leamington Spa promoting Cure Leukaemia’s cycling events he said:
“I am thrilled to be a Patron of Cure Leukaemia. I’ve been involved with the charity for four years now and it has become very close to my heart. I am very fortunate that my family has not been touched by blood cancer but we have seen the football community rocked by Carl Ikeme and Stiliyan Petrov being diagnosed in recent years and of course Geoff Thomas too.
“It is such an indiscriminate disease that affects people from all walks of life, young or old and any level of fitness and Cure Leukaemia is a charity that is fighting back and being proactive in trying to find a cure as quickly as possible.”
Ben met a teenage leukaemia patient from Solihull called Harrison Price at the launch event in 2017 and he has followed his treatment closely ever since and he was delighted to see him with his family last week.
“It was great to see Harry, I love that kid, he always has a massive smile and I forgive him for being a big Aston Villa fan! I know he has a rare form of blood cancer and it’s another reason why supporting charities like Cure Leukaemia is so important so that more can be done to help people like Harry.
“I know Harry’s mum and dad are cycling the Velo Birmingham and Midlands on 12th May so I’m going to sponsor them with the funds raised from David de Gea’s shirt! I’m so glad the shirt idea has worked so well, I’m really grateful to all the players that have supported this and everyone who has bid to raise funds for the charity.”
Cure Leukaemia Chairman Ian Allen said:
“Ben is a fantastic person and typifies the spirit of Cure Leukaemia. We are delighted to have him as a Patron and I know that his involvement will be a huge benefit to our charity for years to come. We wish him well for the rest of the season and for the FA Cup Semi-Final this weekend.”