John Hartson Foundation

John Hartson Foundation on The Celtic Network


John Hartson T shirtABOUT JOHN

Before going head-to-head with testicular cancer in July 2009,  John Hartson was a professional footballer for 16 years, making his name as striker at the highest level.  

First signed for: Luton Town in 1992, aged 16 

Broke British records: three years later when Arsenal paid £2.5million – then a record fee for a teenager – taking him to Highbury where he scored 17 goals in 70 appearances

Smashed club records: by moving to West Ham United in a £3.2million deal, repaying them with 33 goals in 73 games, then signing for Wimbledon for £7.5million

Came close to signing for Rangers in 2000: but the deal collapsed after John failed a medical. Within a year he was on his way to their biggest rivals, Celtic

Enjoyed his greatest success: at Celtic where he become one of only 28 players to score more than 100 goals for the club and was named joint winner of the Scottish Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year 2005

Saw out his playing days: by moving to West Bromwich Albion in 2006 before signing as a columnist with The Scottish Sun and commentating for S4C and ITV Sport

Present day: John combines his role as founder and ambassador of the Foundation with part-time positions as assistant manager with the Welsh FA, along with his ongoing media work 


THE JOHN HARTSON FOUNDATION was set up in February 2010 by the former professional footballer following his battle with testicular cancer which spread to his brain and left him fighting for life.

During his illness and recovery John and his wife Sarah had first-hand experience of the devastating physical, emotional and financial effects which cancer has on those diagnosed with the illness and their families.

Reports of John’s illness and recovery were carried in many national newspapers and he continues to have a prominent public profile. As a well-known sportsman, he decided to use his status as someone who has beaten cancer to provide support and inspiration to others going through the same experience and to raise money to help people with cancer and their families.

John’s cancer was diagnosed in July 2009 after he ignored lumps on his testicle – by which time it had spread to his lungs and brain.

John said: “I’d had a tiny little lump, two in fact, on my right testicle for four years before I did anything serious about it.

“The way I saw it, I was 31, I was fathering kids, I was training hard every day, I was moving clubs – I was doing everything that was asked of me. I was also, if I’m honest, pretty ignorant about the symptoms of testicular cancer and the importance of getting treatment early. I had no idea of the danger I was putting myself in. 

“It wasn’t until I started suffering the most horrendous headaches that I went to see my GP and mentioned the lumps. Within days I found out the lumps were testicular cancer and the headaches were the result of a tumour. I had waited so long to get checked that the cancer had spread to my lungs and my brain and I was diagnosed with stage-four cancer.

“Had I got the lumps checked when I first discovered them, I could have spared myself months of operations and gruelling treatments, not to mention the worry I could have saved my family in the process.

“So I urge you – don’t do as I did, do as I say. Check yourself regularly, know what to look for and get anything out of the ordinary seen to by your GP. It could save your life.”


THE JOHN HARTSON FOUNDATION’S aim is to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer in the hope that men with any concerns about their health will see a doctor sooner rather than later, leading to early diagnosis and treatment.


The charity also raises funds to help support people with cancer and their families. One of the first organisations to benefit was the new £3million Maggie’s Centre at Swansea’s Singleton Hospital, one of a network of Maggie’s Centres throughout the UK which provides free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer and their loved ones.

With its roots in John’s native Wales but a reach that spans the length and breadth of the UK, the Foundation is now managed by a board of trustees including John’s wife Sarah, while John is busy doing everything he can to draw attention to the charity’s work.




The Foundation recently rebranded with a distinctive new logo and call to action – Grab Life by the Balls.

The aims are to encourage men to check themselves for any lumps and bumps and also to embrace challenges such as the Foundation’s flagship fundraiser, The BraveHart Ben Nevis Challenge which takes place in July.


John will tackle Britain’s highest mountain for the third time to raise funds for the Foundation and would love TV3 viewers to join him.


John said: “We want YOU to join us for this fun-filled weekend in Fort William. Standing at the top of Ben Nevis feels like you’re on top of the world – and you’ll be raising vital funds to help us carry on the charity’s work. Please take up the challenge – it’s an amazing experience you’ll never forget.”


The event takes place over the weekend of Friday, July 12 to Sunday, July 14. Places are limited and full information and sign up details are on the website at Or email:



The John Hartson Foundation is a registered charity in England and Wales (charity no: 1135549)






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