Dean Holden and Tracey Leaburn recently completed an I’m A Celebrity-style eating challenge to raise funds for the club’s annual PSA testing day at The Valley.
The men’s first-team showed their support in the club’s training ground canteen as the pair stomached blended mealworms, morio worms, fish eyes, pig brains, pig anus and roasted crickets, before wearing live snakes around their necks for 60 seconds.
Up to 500 men will be tested against Fleetwood Town this Saturday. Each test costs £25 and although supporters are asked to donate £10, there is a shortfall of £15 per person, meaning £7,500 needs to be raised. Supporters can donate to the cause by clicking here.
“The drink was probably the worst one!” admitted Holden. “The fish eyes weren’t so great either but it was all for a good cause. We’ve raised a lot of money as a football club, supporters and players alike.
“Tracey Leaburn has got a real purpose behind this having lost her father to the illness. It shows that we can pull together as a football club and the supporters have raised a lot of money. The players have put their hands in their pockets as well and we got an extra 20 quid per player in our team meeting [on the day of the event].
“Building team spirit is a big part of everything that what we do. The boys know they have to come in, work hard and enjoy it as well. Again, if there’s a shared purpose in achieving something - whether it’s raising money for charity or having a good second half of the season - you need to be together and you need to enjoy the people that you work with and put demands on each other. They certainly did that with me and Tracey in the canteen.”
Leaburn added: “We started doing PSA testing on fans a good few years ago and so far we’ve potentially identified 65 men with prostate cancer. We had a father and son watching here who were both diagnosed with prostate cancer through our PSA testing day.
“We’re the first club to ever hold it on a matchday and men just book it and they come in. It’s a simple blood test and then they’ll be notified within a few days as to whether or not there is a potential problem with their prostate.
“The support that I’ve had from Malcolm Michaels Butchers in Leeds, the Pet Lodge in Mottingham who have brought down the snake and Keith Wisdom who has kindly sponsored the event with a £1,000 donation has been overwhelming. There’s been so many different people who have helped to put this event on and just seeing everyone laughing and having fun, even though it was at our expense, was great.”