Aston Villa and Birmingham City supporters are being urged to put their rivalry to one side and unite in support of Cure Leukaemia’s Just One More campaign at Tuesday’s eagerly-awaited Second City derby.
Aston Villa’s official charity, Villa in the Community have kindly agreed to back the Birmingham-based blood cancer charity’s attempts to raise at least £40,000 – the amount required to fund Just One More specialist research nurse for a year – during September, which is Blood Cancer Awareness Month.
Just One More is Cure Leukaemia’s biggest-ever community fundraising campaign and sets out to prove that small donations can make a big impact.
Both in the build-up to and during the Capital One Cup third-round tie at Villa Park (kick-off 7.45pm), which is being screened live by Sky Sports, supporters of both teams are being asked to spare Just One More pound to help Cure Leukaemia save lives.
Servants of both clubs have experienced the devastating effects of blood cancer. Former Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov was diagnosed with leukaemia three years ago and is now in remission. However, former Birmingham defender Gary Ablett wasn’t so fortunate and passed away in 2012.
Fans can get behind Just One More by texting VITC15 £1 to 70070 or by donating at http://bit.ly/1Y3yCiB.*
Villa in the Community’s support follows hot on the heels of another of the Second City’s sporting institutions and Cure Leukaemia’s charity partner, Warwickshire County Cricket Club, handing over a £25,000 cheque by donating Just One More pound from every ticket sold at the opening day of the recent Investec Ashes Test Match at Edgbaston
James McLaughlin, Chief Executive of Cure Leukaemia, said: “As a Birmingham-based charity, we are honoured that Aston Villa are supporting our Just One More campaign during Blood Cancer Awareness Month at what will be a massive occasion for the Second City.
“As the great Bill Shankly once said, football can feel more serious than a matter of life and death and there is an awful lot riding on this game for both sets of players and fans. But it really is a matter of life and death for the Villa and Birmingham fans currently fighting for their lives at the Centre for Clinical Haematology, which is on the doorstep of both Villa Park and St Andrew’s.
“Although they will want their respective teams to win, they’re united in battling blood cancer on a daily basis and we hope all fans of both clubs can join forces on Tuesday and help us find a cure for this terrible, indiscriminate disease.
“The Centre has been acknowledged by Prime Minister David Cameron as an international centre of excellence in the fight against blood cancer and all funds that are raised through Just One More will go directly to the man who saved Stiliyan Petrov’s life, Professor Charlie Craddock.
“When Stiliyan was diagnosed with leukaemia, the entire football family got behind the 'Support Stan' campaign and he is now in remission. Unfortunately, former Birmingham defender Gary Ablett wasn’t so lucky.
“There has been an overwhelming response from football supporters since Villa fan Richard Griffiths posted a photo of his son, Tom, who is being treated for leukaemia, watching a game at Villa Park on social media.
“With all of these cases in mind, wouldn’t it be great if the City could unite off the field and raise enough money in one night to fund Just One More specialist research nurse and give others a chance of surviving blood cancer.”
Ravinder Masih, Head of Villa in the Community, said: “We are proud to support Cure Leukaemia during Blood Cancer Awareness Month. The charity has helped put Birmingham on the map by raising funds for some truly ground-breaking work. Supporting the campaign is certainly one way of uniting everyone in the community no matter what their allegiances.”
Just One More is all about having fun while raising funds to enable more blood cancer patients across the Midlands, who have exhausted all options on the NHS, access to potentially lifesaving treatments.
For further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 236 9202.
* 75 per cent of all donations made to Villa In The Community during September will go to Cure Leukaemia’s Just One More campaign