Fathers and golfers Michael Flatley, Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley and Shane Lowry today tee’d off a charity campaign called ‘Drive for Dads’ for Breakthrough Cancer Research.

The campaign will run for a week from Father’s Day (17th June) to raise money for research into new treatments for the leading cancers affecting men in Ireland.

Commenting on the appeal, celebrity ambassador Michael Flatley said, “As a proud father, golfing fanatic and supporter of Breakthrough Cancer Research, I cannot think of a better gift a dad could receive on Father’s Day than the opportunity to help save the lives of men throughout Ireland in their fight against cancer on the golf course.  I’ll most certainly be joining the ‘Drive for Dads’ this Father’s Day.”

Padraig Harrington said “As a father of two boys and having lost my own father to cancer, I am perhaps more aware of how cancer can effect men than others.  Us men are notorious for not taking the correct, if any, action when it comes to our health.  I am delighted to see the ‘Drive for Dads’ initiative making moves to increase awareness and carry out important research in Ireland into new treatments for cancers affecting men. ”

Paul McGinley is also driving home the ‘Drive for Dads’ campaign “As a father of three and a golfing professional, I am delighted to support Drive for Dads, which is a fantastic initiative that not only raises money for cancer research but also highlights the leading cancers affecting males in Ireland that are often not spoken about.  It also gives people the opportunity to do something special on Father’s Day with those loved and in memory of those lost”.

2009 Irish Open Champion winner Shane Lowry said “Some of my earliest memories are with my dad watching and playing sport.  He has always been there for me and has helped me become who I am today. That’s why I am very happy to support a great cause like ‘Drive for Dads’ for Breakthrough Cancer Research, which focuses on increasing awareness and carrying out research into cancers effecting men.”

All monies raised will specifically go towards research into lung, testicular, prostate, and stomach cancers. Currently Ireland has the highest statistics of prostate cancer in Europe with the disease affecting one in every 13 men in the country, with over 90% of those diagnosed with testicular cancer are younger than 50, and with lung cancer is the cause of 20% of all cancer deaths in Ireland.

reakthrough Cancer Research is currently working to fund research that will reduce these startling statistics.

 Eoghan O Sullivan, campaign manager at Breakthrough Cancer Research, said “Currently one in three people are affected by cancer in Ireland, with the leading male cancers being lung, testicular, prostate, and stomach.  Men are known for being less proactive and public about their health than women, which is a major reason why there is not as much awareness, understanding, funding or support of cancer affecting men”.
“The Drive for Dads campaign will not only help to spread awareness but it will raise vital funds to bring new treatments to fruition so we can dramatically reduce the statistics.  We are appealing to all golf lovers and novices, dads and kids, to help us in our drive for a future free of cancer this Father’s Day.”

 Breakthrough Cancer Research fundraises for research at Cork Cancer Research Centre into new treatments for cancers that currently respond poorly to conventional therapy.  The Centre has had a number of successes over the past 10 years, and has brought five new treatments to clinical trial nationally during this period.

Participating clubs can be viewed on the event page www.drivefordads.ie.

Padraig Harrington believes there is a win for him in the near futureGetty