THE BLOG

How the Power of Sport and Support Is Helping Cancer Suffers Rebuild Their Lives

06/08/2014 07:52 BST | Updated 05/10/2014 10:59 BST

When The Supporters Club asked me if I'd be willing to go back to Glasgow to take part in a documentary about cancer charity CLIC Sargent it was a no-brainer for so many reasons. Firstly of course there is my personal experience with cancer. I always said to myself that I wanted to get back playing football as a form of inspiration to others. To show that you can go through adversity and come out the other side. I hope my journey did that in some way and even though I'm no longer playing I try to offer my support wherever I can because I know first-hand how difficult that process can be, mentally as much as physically. So to go back to Glasgow, a city with such special memories for me, to meet old friends and make new ones too was an easy decision.

Chatting to Caillan and Nicole, two young people who have been through the cancer experience, I realised just how important charities like CLIC Sargent are, providing practical, financial and emotional support to young people with cancer.

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I was fortunate to have Celtic Football as my CLIC Sargent. Celtic is more than just a football club, it's a family. They looked after me so well and I can honestly say I wouldn't be here today without them. Cancer can take away your confidence, leave you very vulnerable. When someone tells you that you have cancer you automatically think "I'm going to die". That's a very hard thing to deal with in itself, beyond the practical difficulties that you face. It's also tough for the families and friends of people with cancer. You just want everyone to treat you normally and having a support network around you is so important.

CLIC Sargent help these young people to understand the illness and to rebuild their lives. That can often involve sport which I know has terrific healing qualities. For these young people it can help too. Going for a run or having a game of football can boost your mood as well as your fitness and that is a key part of the recovery process. CLIC Sargent help with all of these aspects and the people I met spoke in glowing terms about how important that had been for them.

They also have a holiday home on the Ayrshire coast where families and young people with cancer can spend precious time together. It's a very special place as you'll see in the film.

It really was a privilege for me to see the work of CLIC Sargent and to meet the young people benefiting from that. Money raised by BT Sport viewers through the Supporters Club helps to support charities like CLIC Sargent and that's why I was so happy to be involved. Thank you to everyone who made my return to Glasgow such a memorable one.

Supporters United is the latest documentary from BT Sport showcasing The Supporters Club, BT Sport's initiative that aims to build a better world through sport. The film premieres on Thursday August 7, at 6.30pm on BT Sport 1.