Fulham and Crystal Palace fans will come together ahead of next Saturday’s London derby to raise awareness of mental health and male suicide.
Claudio Ranieri’s side will make the trip from South-West to South-East on February 2nd, and supporters of both teams will be walking from Craven Cottage to Selhurst Park the morning of the game.
Rather than fundraising, the principle aim of the march is to spread awareness through action, in the hope of encouraging people who need to talk and seek help, to do just that. The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading the movement against male suicide.
One in four people in the UK suffer from mental health issues, with 84 men taking their own life every week, making suicide the biggest killer of males under the age of 45 in the country.
Whites fan Lee Adams is helping to coordinate the walk, and he said: “This is a cause that’s very close to my heart. I thought I was alone, but realised CALM were here and I took a massive interest in this charity.
“I was astounded by the statistics that a man under 45 years of age commits suicide every two hours in the UK. That’s an alarming figure. It gave me the motivation to try to do something positive and tell people not to feel alone and that it is okay to talk.
“I can’t believe the amount of people that have opened up, especially Fulham fans, to me about their own troubles. A lot more people are now talking and, there is no doubt about it, Fulham fans have helped save lives.
“I receive a lot of messages asking if they can get involved, of course – the more the merrier. Thanks to everyone who has supported so far, but there’s still a lot to do. The fight’s not over and your help, conversations and understanding could help save your mate’s life. Anybody is welcome to join us.”
One Fulham fan who has got involved is our Vice-Chairman Tony Khan, who provided a significant donation after hearing Lee’s story.
“I could not believe Tony Khan’s generous gesture,” Lee said. “I’ve spoken to him regarding what I’ve been doing and he has been very forthcoming, supportive and provided plenty of words of encouragement. I received so many positive messages from fans since Tony’s donation and I can’t thank him enough.”
The walk from the Cottage to Selhurst Park will commence at around 10am, with 70 supporters from both sides already committed to the 10-and-a-half mile tread, which is estimated to take around three hours. For more information, you can contact Lee via his Twitter account @matchwornshirt1.