Alex Stedman, 22, was diagnosed with a localised form of testicular cancer in February and since then he has coupled battling the disease with collecting signed kit from Premier League, Championship and League 1 and 2 sides.
On Friday 10 March, Orient joined the litany of clubs – which includes Liverpool, Chelsea, Portsmouth, QPR and Yeovil – who have donated to the cause. Mr Stedman has credited his job as Crawley Town FC’s media officer as the reason for his success.
— Alex Stedman (@astedman1) March 12, 2017
“After my diagnosis I recognised that with my job and the people I knew, I could get items quite easily,” he told the Hackney Post. “John Hartson rang me when I was diagnosed and that phone call was really helpful, so I did some research [and] found out he had the charity and it seemed like a good thing to do.
“The EFL [English Football League] sent an email to all the press offices within the Football League and they all got back to me.
“In March, Orient donated a signed shirt and two pairs of goalie gloves from Alex Cisak and Sam Sargeant. They then sent a personalised shirt to my home, which had ‘Get well soon Alex’ printed on it and their signatures for me to keep.”
Over the next couple of weeks, Mr Stedman aims to set up an eBay page to auction the kit from, with the proceeds going to the JHF’s Just Giving page.
When asked about the donations, an Orient spokesperson said it was the least the club could do.
“Donating the items to both Alex and the John Hartson Foundation was the absolute least that we as a club could do,” the spokesperson said. “We were deeply saddened when we heard the news that Alex had been diagnosed with cancer, but his attitude and determination since then has been phenomenal.
“To remain so positive during such a difficult time is a credit to Alex as a person, and his efforts to raise money for such a worthy cause has certainly not gone unnoticed by football clubs up and down the country.”