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14 June 2011, 15:17
Albion boss Gus Poyet is backing a new campaign launched today by Albion in the Community and Brighton and Hove NHS.
Ernest Vye thought he'd never live to see his beloved Brighton and Hove Albion play in the new American Express Community Stadium next season after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.
But, after two major operations and an intense course of radiotherapy, the retired 76 year-old, Albion season ticket holder, from Southwick is fighting fit for start of the new season in August thanks largely to the work of Albion in the Community, the club's community charity.
It was on a wet, Tuesday night at the Withdean Stadium in January 2010 that Ernest was given a leaflet and spoke to an Albion in the Community volunteer about the symptoms of bowel cancer. After recognising the symptoms, Ernest went to see his doctor and was diagnosed with bowel cancer shortly after. Nearly 18 months on he is well on the road to a full recovery.
Speaking from his new seat at the Amex Stadium, which officially opens its doors next month, he said:
"Just being here today is a dream come true for me. My doctor and my surgeon both told me that diagnosing the cancer at an early stage was the key to my survival. So it is fair to say that Albion and the Community and the NHS have saved my life."
"Like most people, I didn't stop to think that I might have been at risk from something like bowel cancer. It is so important that people are aware of the early symptoms and take action early by going to see their doctor. There's really nothing to be embarrassed about."
He added:"In 65 years of following the Albion, I have seen the club win many battles not least the one that got them to this fantastic new stadium. But my battle to beat cancer and see them play here will be up there with the best of them."
Ernest and Albion boss Gus Poyet are backing a new campaign launched today by Albion in the Community and Brighton and Hove NHS. The 'Be Clear on Cancer': Be Clear Brighton and Hove' initiative aims to increase awareness of the early symptoms of cancer amongst men and women over 50 and encourage them to see their doctor.
This is the message from Gus
The first stage of the campaign will focus on bowel cancer. Taking into account the age structure of the population, Brighton and Hove has the highest rate of bowel cancer in Sussex and the city also ranks above the national average when it comes to deaths from bowel cancer.
Martina Pickin from Brighton and Hove NHS said:
"Early recognition of the symptoms of bowel cancer is key to improving survival rates in the city so it is important that people understand what these symptoms are and do not put off going to see their doctor if they have them."
"We are delighted to be part of this exciting partnership with Albion in the Community which will hopefully engage people with this important issue in a different way."
The project, which will run until next March, will see a special team of 'Community Health Squad' volunteers set up to spread the message at a number of city-wide and community events across Brighton and Hove. The campaign started on Tuesday at Sussex Sharks 20/20 cricket match against Somerset with volunteers from American Express, as part of the company's community focussed partnership with Albion in the Community.
Anyone interested in volunteering and joining the Community Health Squad should e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org