Ex-QPR defender Parker encourages others to get involved with Prostate Cancer UK bike ride
PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:09 20 February 2020
Former Queens Park Rangers defender Paul Parker encourages others to get involved with Prostate Cancer UK.
Former R's defender Paul Parker has urged others to get involved with Prostate Cancer UK's Football to Amsterdam bike ride in June.
The ride takes place from June 5-7 and starts from Queen Elizabeth Park's Lee Valley VeloPark before finishing at Ajax's Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam.
Those based in the north of England wanting to get involved also have the option of starting at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough rather than in London.
The 55-year-old will be among hundreds of riders taking part having already completed it last year and has encouraged others to sign up.
"It was something I never thought I'd be doing because I've never owned a bike in my life," he said.
"For me it was a big achievement. When we got to the Johan Cruijff ArenA, when you cross that line I'd not felt anything like that for a long, long time.
"If someone said what's one of your biggest achievements outside of football it would always get a mention, without a doubt.
"Everyone has a story to tell. If it's not immediate family then it's someone else's family or good friends of theirs who have lost somebody.
"Everyone has got something to say about it, there's a connection somewhere.
"That's the bit I enjoyed. I thought to myself I'll get on the boat, have a quick pint of lager and get to bed but it didn't work out like that because you end up speaking to people.
"You suddenly realise that it's not just about getting to the end as quick as possible, it's about being around people and chatting."
Since starting out as a charity challenge with 35 riders in 2013, the initiative has raised £2.5 million for the charity with the £3 million barrier expected to be passed this summer.
And Parker, who played for QPR between 1987 and 1991 and also featured for England in the 1990 World Cup semi-final, stressed the importance of the cause.
He added: "You're helping a lot of men. There's a lot of men out there who don't know that they've got it.
"Some people just don't want to know when you get to a certain age.
"It's just about raising awareness. People in the end will get fed up and will go and get themselves checked out.
"Family, friends, even someone in a pub who they've been talking to might suddenly pop up and say 'oh haven't you been checked yet?
"In the end sheer embarrassment or persistence and people nagging will get you out there to get yourself checked and go and find out if you've got it.
"The thing about it is if you get it early there's a good chance everything will be fine.
"We want people to go and get checked out as early as possible.That's what it's about more than anything."
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