Matt Perry to join Jeff Stelling's Men United March
Wolves Club Doctor Matt Perry is joining Sky Sports’ Jeff Stelling on the Men United March to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK – after revealing he has previously been treated for the disease.
Matt, who has been at Wolves since 2002, and was also appointed as the Premier League’s first ever medical advisor in 2014, will be joining Jeff and also Wolves CEO Jez Moxey and former keeper Matt Murray on the Midlands’ leg of the trek, which will see Stelling walk from Hartlepool to Wembley.
Having previously only told a few people about his diagnosis, Matt has now decided to make it more public with a view to promoting awareness and also helping raise vital funds to help sufferers in the future.
“I had a diagnosis of prostate cancer in June, 2014,” he explains.
“I underwent surgery with Peter Cook at New Cross Hospital in September 2014 with his robot and various other assistants.
“I had never had surgery of any type previously, and this was a major operation which lasted for six hours.
“I had started the new job with the Premier League on the Monday morning, went in to hospital on the Thursday morning and I came out on the Friday evening.
“At the beginning of September there was the international break, then Wolves had an away game and then at the next home game I sat up in the Directors Box.
“After that I was back on the bench a month later for the next home game.
“At the time I told my family, Jez (Moxey), Richard (Skirrow), Kenny (Jackett), Phil (Hayward), some people at the Premier League and one or two others.
“The timing coincided with me leaving medical practice but I didn’t want the patients thinking I had left because I had cancer.
“My general view is that doctors should be like referees – the less they are seen and talked about the better!
“As a doctor it is not your job to be the focus, it should be about your patients, and so my view was generally to keep quiet.
“The last time I’d been ill before that was when I was a medical student in Tanzania – and suffered from cholera!
“I’ve worked as a GP for many years and in hospitals but generally I hadn’t had anything serious, apart from those two occasions!”
Matt had built up both a good working relationship and friendship with another Matt – former Wolves keeper Murray – and it was a call from the now Nike Academy coach and Sky Sports pundit which set the wheels in motion for this fundraiser.
Although obviously there won’t be any wheels in sight as the group cover the 22 miles of what will be Day 6 of Stelling’s ‘march’, heading from Molineux to St Andrews via Walsall, West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa.
“Matt Murray knew about it from the start,” adds Matt.
“I have been close to Matt for a long time and the first thing he always says is ‘how are you, how is the family?’
“And when he said it to me I think he realised! So he got the full story which is his knack, although I swore him to secrecy.
“But when he knew more recently that Jeff Stelling was walking for Prostate Cancer UK he mentioned it.
“I have always thought I’d like to do something for New Cross or Prostate Cancer UK, and while this is for the charity, the fundraising contributes to surgical equipment and staff in hospitals so hopefully some of it will find its way to New Cross.
“I spoke to a few friends about whether it was a mistake to tell everybody.
“But I am pretty sure I am cured – the histology after surgery suggested it was cured and blood tests ever since have said the same .
“I wouldn’t want to broadcast it if things were going to get worse but it is looking positive so I am one of the people who can broadcast it as a positive story and let us see if we can raise some money for those who don’t get it diagnosed or treated successfully.
“The Premier League also said I would never get a better chance, so the decision was to go for it, and we will see what happens!”
It was back in 1972 that Matt last walked this distance, as a 14-year-old in the same Spring he stood on the North Bank for one of his favourite Wolves games, the second leg of the UEFA Cup semi final against Ferencvaros.
Very different circumstances now, but the Doc is hoping for as much support as possible for such an important cause, and the Football League’s charity partner.
“Any support that Wolves fans can give will be very much appreciated,” he added.
“Any fan who knows someone who has the condition and would like to donate can do so and put the name of their family member or friend on the Just Giving page.
“It is a very common problem for me and almost everyone will know someone who has been – or is – going through it.
“I am just pleased to be able to help if I can.
“When something like this happens you realise that we are all perishable – you never take anything for granted and I am glad to be alive and making the most out of every day.”