More clubs should be raising awareness over breast cancer say West Ham players after pink shirt campaign

Gilly Flaherty, left, in West Ham's commemorative pink shirt for breast cancer awareness month (PA Images)
8:11am, Thu 31 Oct 2019
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Supporters and opponents alike have seen West Ham United playing in pink throughout October in recognition of breast cancer awareness month.

The initiative, which has seen the club raise just under £20,000 for Breast Cancer Now in replica shirt sales, has been an attempt to not only raise awareness during the month but to extend health checks all year round.

West Ham player Kate Longhurst said: "We don't only need to think about breast cancer in the month of October. We want to create awareness so every week people are checking themselves." 

West Ham's captain Gilly Flaherty and managing director Jack Sullivan said they believed more Women's Super League teams need to get involved, especially because of the platform the players have.

Flaherty said: "I think other teams need to step up because as female footballers, we're role models. The more exposure we can give and the more teams that get behind it the better." 

Sullivan added: "It was a great campaign that we could be a part of and hopefully the other teams can jump on this bandwagon. 

"The league could even possibly do something, such as a pink captain's armband or a pink ball, whatever it might be for the month. That would be great."

Kate Longhurst wearing the pink shirts that were on sale in October (West Ham United)

The cause hits home for many players at the club, particularly Kenza Dali who shared a photo on Instagram revealing that her mother has suffered with breast cancer. In the post she wrote: "Mum, you are definitely the best example of perseverance and courage."

Longhurst says she also knows someone who has been affected.

Longhurst said: "Some of my mum's friends have had breast cancer and unfortunately one of them didn't make it. Everyone knows someone who has suffered with it so I think it's really important [to raise awareness]."

The club has been overwhelmed by the demand for the shirts and have nothing but gratitude for the fans who bought them. 

Flaherty said: "I want to say a massive thank you. It's so nice when you see youngsters walking around [at games with their pink shirts on]. They're going to say 'mummy, daddy, why are we wearing a pink shirt?' and that's massive.

"You're teaching people from a young age. I think that's what's been massive for this club."

West Ham players will be signing their pink shirts and the club will be hosting an auction soon with profits going to Breast Cancer Now.