Chelsea’s first black player, Paul Canoville, has joined a campaign based in a barbershop in South Norwood to raise cancer awareness among customers.
Yianni Hapeshis, the owner of Barber Jack & Son on Portland Road, hopes that by fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support, it will encourage clients to seek Macmillan’s help should they need it.
“Like many people, I have had loved ones who’ve been impacted by this horrible disease,” Hapeshis said. “The least I can do is help in any way that I can and help get awareness out there. I feel like it’s important in life that we celebrate positivity and help spread love and support.”
Canoville made 79 appearances for Chelsea between 1981 and 1986, and the winger’s goals helped the side win the then Second Division in 1984. Now 58, in 1996, Canoville was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer which attacks the immune system. He underwent a course of chemotherapy for the illness and made a full recovery.
He has been treated for cancer twice more since.
Hapeshis said, “I recently had the privilege of interviewing Chelsea legend Paul Canoville about his cancer experience and speaking with him really gave me an insight as to how much Macmillan does and how much they really help.
“It was a real pleasure speaking to Paul, not only because of who he is and what he’s done in football, but it was really refreshing to hear a man open up about what he went through and encouraging people to go get checked if something doesn’t feel right. He’s a real interesting man. A strong, strong man.”
Canoville said he was “compelled” by Hapeshis’s community spirit to help his campaign. “I’ve been both affected by cancer and impacted by Macmillan, and after having beaten cancer three times, I know first-hand how vital the work of Macmillan is in the saving of lives and provision of hope.
“I would like to thank Yian for inspiring me. As a result of being involved in his fundraiser, I have decided to create a virtual support group for Afro-Caribbean men that are living with cancer – to help encourage others and help reduce the taboo of cancer within the black community.”
Hapeshis is also helping to raise the profile of local street artists by featuring large-scale graffiti murals on the outside wall of his shop – the latest being a Macmillan-inspired piece by Dave Bonzai.
“It’s honestly been such a pleasure to do and the response has been brilliant,” said Hapeshis, who is also running a raffle, with the Barber Jack & Son “Deluxe Package” – a VIP haircut, beard trim and facial treatment worth £40 as the prize. Tickets to enter the draw are £1 each, with funds going to help Macmillan’s work supporting people with cancer.
Lee Townsend, from Macmillan, said, “This year has been extremely challenging for everyone, but even more so for people impacted by cancer. It is for this reason that the efforts of amazing people like Yian prove invaluable to the work of Macmillan.
“What Yian has done is incredible because he has not only helped to raise money, but just as importantly he has helped to raise awareness of the impact of cancer among the diverse group of customers that support his business.”
To find out more about how Macmillan is supporting people with cancer or to make a donation to Macmillan, visit: macmillan.org.uk.
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