HUDDERSFIELD police officer Mark Carter is to tackle a half-marathon in support of the Examiner’s campaign to raise awareness of bone marrow donation.
Pc Carter, 25, plans to run from Bradford police HQ to the site of Huddersfield’s biggest gay pride event, the Pink Picnic, at Castle Hill on July 27.
The former Mr Gay UK, who won in 2006, who works at Huddersfield police station, is running in support of the Examiner’s Sign Up For Sudders campaign, which aims to recruit more bone marrow donors.
It is being fronted by 26-year-old Examiner journalist Adrian Sudbury, who is dying from the leukaemia he has battled for 18 months.
Adrian wants to inform people about the need for more donors and what is involved in the process. He also wants the Government to make it compulsory for 17- and 18-year-olds to be educated about blood, bone marrow and organ donation as standard.
Pc Carter said: “I am fully behind Adrian’s campaign and would like to do this run in support of it.”
Pc Carter first pledged his support for Adrian’s campaign to help highlight the fact that gay men are now allowed to sign up the bone marrow register with the Anthony Nolan Trust, a charity which runs one of the UK’s two registers.
The other is kept by the National Blood Service, but as yet gay men are not allowed on to this register as they are deemed to be at higher risk of carrying blood-borne diseases.
After hearing about the Anthony Nolan Trust’s rule change, Pc Carter signed up as a bone marrow donor at the Examiner’s first campaign donor clinic at Lord Street Methodist Mission on June 18.
He thinks it is important that other gay men know they can play their part and become potential lifesavers to the 16,000 people worldwide waiting for a bonemarrow transplant.
This is why he chose to run on the day of the Pink Picnic and why he has opted to split the proceeds of his run between the Anthony Nolan Trust and The Brunswick Centre, a charity which supports gay men in Kirklees and Calderdale.
Pc Carter said: “As a former Mr Gay UK, I want to raise the gay community’s awareness of the Anthony Nolan Trust and support the valuable work of the Brunswick Centre and the role it plays in our community.”
Until three years ago, The Brunswick Centre organised the Pink Picnic, but the hugely popular event now funds itself and is run by a committee.
The Brunswick Centre provides sexual health and HIV/AIDS services and help promote safe sex among men who have sex with men, running a variety of outreach and advice projects across the two areas.
Pc Carter’s route will take him out of Bradford city centre and incorporates two ‘hills from hell’, the first from Brighouse to Bradley Bar and the second along the final stretch, up Somerset Road in Almondbury towards Castle Hill.
He is a fitness fan, going to the gym regularly. But he says he has spent more time building muscle than training for a run and expects the 13-mile distance to be a challenge.
“I have spent the past two years concentrating on muscle building in an effort to bulk up for the Mr Gay contests and modelling work. My days of running seem very distant. I have never attempted to run a distance like this. It’s going to be very painful.
“But the reality is that many people around the world hurt every day by living with illnesses such as leukaemia and HIV or AIDS. My pain will be just temporary.”
To show your support for Mark, you can send a cheque made payable to Sign Up For Sudders to Katie Campling, Huddersfield Examiner, Queen Street South, HD1 3DU. Soon you will also be able to donate at any branch of Barclays bank in the Huddersfield and Halifax area.
You can also support mark by joining his Facebook site by visiting www.facebook.com and searching for Mark’s Bradford to Huddersfield Run.