FORMER Wales striker John Hartson was known for his towering headers.
But this month the football pundit and cancer survivor will be scaling the heights of Britain’s highest mountain for the fourth time to raise funds for his testicular cancer awareness charity.
Gerry Cummins, 47, from Rossett, will also be taking on the gruelling BraveHart Ben Nevis Challenge to climb the 1,344 metre tall mountain in memory of his father-in-law, Thomas Geoffrey Wynne.
He said: “My father-in-law died as a result of cancer and so last year I decided to sign up for the Ben Nevis Charity Trek.
“I did not know anybody else doing the trek. However, there were 80 others taking part and I made a lot of new friends who I have maintained contact with since last year’s event.
“Having completed the Ben Nevis event last year I have decided to sign up for this year’s event and four of my friends from Chester are joining me as I want to raise as much money as I can for the charity.
“I hope to raise £1,500 for The John Hartson Foundation and hope people will give generously for this great cause.”
Hartson first pledged to scale Britain’s highest peak as he recovered from testicular cancer, which had spread to his lungs and brain, and left him fighting for life in July 2009.
After his gruelling treatment, he stayed at the Highland home of wife Sarah’s parents Katherine and James McManus, and was inspired by the view of the massive mountain.
On July 14, 2010, exactly a year later and on his daughter Lina’s second birthday, former Arsenal, West Ham and Celtic star Hartson made his dream come true and completed the first BraveHart challenge.
Four years on and the 39-year-old is still working to spread the word about the work of his charity, The John Hartson Foundation, which raises awareness of testicular cancer and supports people with cancer and their families.
He said: “Standing on the summit of Ben Nevis feels like you’re on top of the world – and the first time I climbed it in July 2010 meant the world to me.
“As a professional footballer, I had enjoyed the fame and lifestyle that playing for top-flight clubs like Celtic and Arsenal and earning 51 caps for Wales brought me. I also had the warning signs of testicular cancer – and I ignored them.
“I want people to know that everything I went through, and put my loved ones through, could have been avoided had I known more about the disease, and above all, the importance of catching it early.
“I’m also working hard to raise money to support others affected by cancer because I know first-hand the difference that support can make.”
If you would like to sponsor Mr Cummins, visit www.justgiving.com/
Gerard-Cummins2, or contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Places are still available for the BraveHart Ben Nevis Challenge taking place on July 26.
Visit www.johnhartsonfoundation.co.uk or contact JHF fundraising manager Libby Emmerson on 07961 543254 for more information.
See full story in the Leader