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Ex-City player Hartson to become father

PUBLISHED: 17:40 20 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:48 06 July 2010

John Hartson

John Hartson

Former Norwich City footballer John Hartson is set to become a father again, despite receiving treatment for cancer.

Former Norwich City footballer John Hartson is set to become a father again, despite receiving treatment for cancer.

Hartson, 34, has completed his final chemotherapy session after it was revealed in July that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the testicles, which later spread to his brain and lungs.

The former Welsh international striker, who played four games for Norwich City after joining on loan from West Bromwich Albion in October 2007, told the Scottish Sun that his partner Sarah McManus was expecting their second child in March.

He said he was determined to beat his cancer to see the baby and to marry Ms McManus, 37.

“I have every reason to live and plan to be there for the birth. We're having a scan in two weeks to see what sex it is,” he said.

Hartson was speaking as he launched the Movember campaign, in which men are urged to grow a moustache to raise awareness of men's health issues, including testicular and prostate cancer.

Hartson was near to death just months ago. The once-burly striker is now unsteady on his feet and must take deep breaths before speaking, and has scars on his head from the two emergency brain operations needed to save his life.

He now weighs 14st 7lbs, nearly five stone less than when he was taken to hospital on July 9 suffering from blinding headaches.

He said: “I'm not doing bad considering I left hospital a few weeks ago on a zimmer frame. But these are the smallest jeans I own from years ago and they're still falling off me.”

Hartson blamed his own lifestyle for his cancer, saying: “Oh, I know why it happened to me - because I was stupid. I didn't take my health seriously. I let my weight go up to a ridiculous level - 19st 3lbs.

“And I had that lump for probably four years now I think of it. In that time I played for Celtic, West Brom and Norwich. They have club doctors that work 24/7 and I never asked them to check out my lump - how stupid is that?

“It's ignorance, and I nearly lost my life over it.”

He added: “I'm not through it yet. I've been so ill there's no way I can say I'm out of the woods. I was dying. So to even get to this stage is quite a big achievement. It's bigger than anything I ever achieved in football.”

Football fans attending Norwich City Saturday home matches are being offered free health checks to help fight three killer diseases.

The initiative, called Ahead of the Game, is aimed at men aged 55 and over, who could be at risk of bowel, lung or prostate cancer.

The checks include blood pressure, waist measurement, body mass index and lung function.

Nearly 100 men have received the checks so far, which are provided by Football in the Community in conjunction with the Football Foundation, Department of Health, Great Yarmouth Community Connections and the EDP.

Dan Goffin, health development officer at Football in the Community, said publicity surrounding Hartson's illness had helped to boost the numbers attending. “The sessions have been very popular, probably because we're offering the service at a time and a place that is convenient. People say they don't have time to go and see their GP.”

The checks are available outside the Jarrold Stand between midday and 2.30pm on Saturdays when Norwich City are playing at home. People can either just turn up on the day or make an appointment in advance by telephoning Football in the Community on 01603 761122.

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