A BURTON Albion defender is hoping to raise cash for charity and support a former team-mate, who is battling cancer, by growing his hair and beard until the end of the season.
Marcus Holness, known as ‘Bob’ by team-mates, decided to take on the #grow4joe challenge in a bid to support his friend Joe Thompson, who currently plays for Tranmere Rovers and is battling nodular sclerosing Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer.
One of Joe’s team-mates came up with the idea of growing his hair for 12 months to give the 24-year-old some moral support during his efforts to beat the disease and Marcus decided to jump on board.
The 25-year-old said: “A good friend of mine, who I played with at Rochdale, has got a type of leukaemia and one of his team-mates at Tranmere came up with the idea of growing our hair until the end of the season.”
“I said I’d grow my hair and beard, and it’s good that we’re trying to promote it.
“I’ve also got some of the lads here sponsoring me, which is good.”
“We’ve got until the end of the season, but a few of the lads are doing it for a year so we’ll see how it goes.
“Adam McGurk knows him well from Tranmere, and lads like Michael Symes and Phil Edwards are backing me so hopefully we’ll raise some money.”
Joe Thompson is the player battling leukaemia at the centre of the support and fund-raising efforts. He said: “After suffering for several weeks from increased fatigue and illness, I underwent numerous medical tests and on October 22 last year, I was diagnosed with nodular sclerosing Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer.
“The #grow4joe challenge was started by my current teammate Max Power who decided that, starting January 1, he was going to grow his hair for the next 12 months.
“It was his way of showing me moral support with my journey to fight against cancer and get back on the football pitch.
“So I’m urging team-mates, ex team-mates, footballers, sporting professionals, fans and all of you wonderful people to join in and grow your hair until the end of the football season on May 2, which is also around the same time that I am due to finish my chemotherapy, to help raise money for charity.
“You can grow any part of your facial hair or head hair.
“For example grow a funny moustache, long beard or an afro – the possibilities are endless.
“If you do not wish to take part in the #grow4joe challenge please show your support for the wonderful people who have taken up the challenge by simply donating.
“I am looking forward to beating this disease and getting back on the football pitch when I have beaten this disease.”
More information is available by visiting http://grow4joe.com/