Galway footballers are backing efforts to promote cancer services in the west in a new deal to raise funds for both organisations.
The Galway GAA and Cancer Care West are teaming up to publicise cancer awareness and will hold a number of joint inititives, including fundraising events from which the money raised will be divided between the the charity and Galway footballers. Already planned is a 5,000 kilometre walk throughout all Galway GAA clubs in June, while the Cancer Care West name will now be worn on the front of the Galway jersey, replacing former sponsor Aer Arann.
This new deal was launched this week at the Cancer Care West Support Centre in Seamus Quirke Road by GAA president Christy Cooney.
Galway Football Board chairman, John Joe Holleran, said: “ There is not a parish in the country that has not been touched by cancer. When we were initially approached by the charity we were very enthusiastic about supporting their work and saw the opportunity for a number of joint initiatives in fundraising, cancer awareness, and support.
“We see this as an ideal partnership to create awareness of the charity’s support services and are very proud to wear the Cancer Care West name and logo on our county football jerseys and look forward to a long association with the charity,” he continued.
John MacNamara, chairman of Cancer Care West, said the partnership was an opportunity for the charity to increase awareness of the vital services it provided to cancer patients in the west of Ireland, while also helping to raise much-needed funds.
“ This is a unique association for Cancer Care West with such a high profile organisation within the GAA, a community based voluntary organisation. It is a fantastic opportunity for the charity to reach out to the Galway football community and create awareness of our services to those affected by cancer. As regular exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of developing cancer, an association with a sporting organisation such as Galway Football is very appropriate.”
The connection between health and sport was an obvious one, said Prof Frank Sullivan, medical director of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Galway University Hospital and director of Cancer Care West.
“ Men's health in particular stands to benefit in a real way. Linking good cancer health practice such as early detection to our sporting community has been shown internationally to lead to better outcomes. Who better to bring these positive health benefits directly to our community than the GAA."
Financially-strapped Aer Arann had been the main sponsor for the Galway footballers for three seasons until it withdrew in December.