EVERY STORY HAS A BEGINNING
The origin story
The Cancer Club is a charity founded in 2020 by me, Matthew Wiltshire. When I was diagnosed with bowel cancer back in 2015, my world turned upside down. Suddenly there was a whole new universe to make sense of and navigate. There was the fear of treatment, the fear of my prognosis, and the overwhelming fear that I wouldn’t be around to look after my family as long as I’d planned. One thing was certain, I felt lonely and isolated. However sympathetic and understanding my friends and family tried to be, there was a gulf between their experience of this situation and mine.
As someone who was deemed very young to be given such a frightening diagnosis (I was diagnosed at the age of 48), I found it hard to find other men of a similar age and outlook to share my thoughts and fears with. As men, we’re often reluctant to talk about our feelings but being thrust into this unwelcome situation really drove home how hard it was to find anyone relatable to talk to, even if I wanted to.
As a result of my experience, I’ve made it my mission to get men facing advanced-stage cancers talking so they can release some of the tensions of dealing with their cancer and share the burden of the challenges involved. In the few instances that I’ve found people in the same situation, it’s been liberating from a practical and emotional perspective. Be assured, the cancer chat doesn’t last long. It’s far better to talk about the ‘normal stuff’ and those who know me know that everyday life for me revolves around sport. I know I’m not alone in that; an interest in some kind of sport forms a common ground for a lot of men and is a great ice breaker and conversation starter. The Cancer Club is all about bringing men with cancer together at a variety of sporting events to provide not just emotional support from others ‘in the same boat’ but to provide an outlet, a way to escape the everyday grind created by cancer and to bring some light-hearted relief to our lives.
It is my hope that the work of The Cancer Club will help people in a similar position to me achieve a greater sense of wellbeing, as well as creating a cause for good that will continue long after I’m gone.
We want to make life better
On a mission to make life better and easier for men with advanced-stage cancers by connecting them both in-person and online in supportive environments that promote a greater sense of wellbeing.
Build a long-term future
Build a sustainable charity with a long term future that can change the way men live with advanced stage cancers. We want to make a practical difference to people’s lives, helping them to feel better than they did prior to knowing us.
THE HEART OF MAKING IT HAPPEN
Matt is the Founder of The Cancer Club. He has worked in the tech sector for 30 years; co-founded Source Consulting, and is currently on long term sick leave from CapGemini. Matt was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2015, which is now advanced and incurable. Having struggled to find anyone in a similar position he created BowelBloke.com as a way to raise awareness of the disease, and to raise funds for charity. Building on this desire to help men improve their well-being, and utilising the entrepreneurial skills and business acumen acquired over his career, he created The Cancer Club.
As the co-founder of Source Consulting and Union Solutions, he’s also on the executive committee at Dorking Wanderers FC, is the chairman of Dorking Community Youth Football Group and a trustee of Dorking Football Development Alliance.
Martin has recently retired as Deputy Chairman (and CEO of Agriculture division), Woodbois Ltd. As the former CEO and Managing Director, Tullett Futures Asia and Natsource Europe Ltd, Martin originated and structured many of the world's first Emission Reduction Transactions. He has lived and travelled extensively in Asia and Africa, is an active sportsman and qualified personal trainer.
Martin was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer in 2015, and is now a Trustee at The Cancer Club
Lidia is a brand consultant specialising in the creation of attention-grabbing brand stories that elevate businesses, setting them apart from their competitors and captivating their ideal clients or customers by talking not just about what they do, but how and why they do it. She established The Brand Storyteller in 2013, after spending almost 20 years leading PR and communication teams in the corporate world. Today she uses her storytelling expertise to help creative and entrepreneurial businesses stand out from the crowd.
PROUD TO SUPPORT US
Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford are journalists, broadcasters and television hosts best known for their presenting roles on This Morning and How The Other Half Live. Having forged a friendship with founder Matt and his wife Sophie over 15 years of standing on the side-lines and supporting their children at school sporting events, sports fanatic Eamonn and Ruth knew they had to get involved when they heard about The Cancer Club and its aims and we’re delighted to welcome them as patrons and enthusiastic supporters of our charity.
When it comes to reaching the men we want to help through the charity, getting the balance of communication right is so important. While we are all about connecting men with cancer through sport and our online community, we know it’s so often the women in our lives that push us into reaching out for help, right from nudging us into visiting the GP to investigate anything suspect through to seeking support from professionals or others in the same boat. As a strong, family-oriented husband and wife team, with a warm, welcoming and down-to-earth approach, Eamonn and Ruth are the perfect people to help us spread our message far and wide.
Eamonn Holmes & Ruth Langsford
TOGETHER, WE'RE A TEAM
Lead Volunteer Coordinator
Karolina has spent many years working in senior management roles in Financial Markets, then ran her own fashion business. She is focused on helping the charity gain attention and recognition as a unique and important place of support for men with a difficult diagnosis.
MAKING GREAT THINGS HAPPEN
Social Media Manager
Jenny has a background in sales and marketing and now runs a freelance business offering a range of support services to small businesses. After losing her Mum to ovarian cancer in 2017 Jenny found much-needed comfort and focus through running and charity fundraising. Alongside supporting The Cancer Club on social media Jenny will be getting involved in our events.
THEY DON'T WEAR CAPES
The Weybridge Charity
ABOVE AND BEYOND
The Champions League
The Champions League is made up of individuals who want to go above and beyond with their financial support. The people in The Champions League are committed to our cause, and will typically offer more than their financial support, often bringing the connections and influence needed to help us expand our reach, helping more men with advanced cancer. In The Champions League, if so desired, you can have a say in where your money is invested, by sponsoring specific events and projects.