Countdown continues for Sheffield Steelers' players to face close shave head on for charity

FORMER Sheffield Steelers' defenceman Mark Thomas says he and his wife Vicki have been 'amazed' at the response by people willing to help them raise funds for breast cancer prevention.

Mark Thomas, back in his days playing with Sheffield Steelers, with son Bailey,

Thomas’s wife Vicki was diagnosed with the disease over nine weeks ago and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. To help raise funds for her chosen charity Prevent Breast cancer - a number of Steelers’ players will be taking part in a sponsored head shave after their Elite League game against Manchester Storm at Sheffield Arena this Saturday.

Thanks to help from long-serving Steelers’ official David Simms, current players Ben O’Connor, Robert Dowd, Jonathan Phillips, Aaron Johnson and Tanner Eberle, will be stepping forward to have their heads shaved, along with Simms, Sheffielkd Arena boss Dom Stokes and Thomas’’s 10-year-old son Bailey.

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All money raised will go towards Prevent Breast Cancer, for which – through other fund-raising events – Vicki has already raised over £16,000.

Former GB international defenceman Thomas, now involved with Manchester’s junior hockey programme, said he and his wife had been amazed at the response from people to support their aim of raising awareness and much-needed funding.

“The actual diagnosis was in mid-September, then Vick started chemo within 10 days of finding out and we went from there,” said Thomas. “She’s had nine weeks of intense chemo and she’s having a week off for Xmas and then starts again on the 28th.

To donate money to the Just Giving page set up by Mark and Vicki Thomas to raise funds for the Prevent Breast Cancer charity go HERE

“It was obviously a bit of shock, when you’re just 36, but what we’re trying to do is turn a negative into a positive and to try and raise awareness, especially for younger women

RAISING AWARENESS: Mark and Vicki Thomas

“Ultimately we are fighting this with a positive attitude and I’m sure that she’ll get through it. It’s absolutely amazing the support that the people at the Steelers have shown Vick and myself. That place is obviously close to our hearts as we spent a lot of time over there and we still have a lot of friends over there, some still playing. We love that place.

“Home is Manchester and we are involved with the Manchester Storm and that is flying now. But all the support we’ve had from everywhere, Canada, and other people who have experienced something similar, has been brilliant.”

Another fund-raising event in connection with the Steelers has been scheduled for February 23-24 when Simms, Thomas, club photographer Dean Woolley, Neil Edwards and Elliott Hall and numerous others will walk – in two stages – from Sheffield Arena to Manchester Storm’s ice rink in Altrincham.

“The chosen charity is Prevent Breast Cancer which looks at things like this in the way that prevention is better than cure,” added Thomas. “We’ve had a friend who went through this a few years ago and she’s an ambassador now for that charity.

A CLOSE SHAVE: Sheffield Steelers' Ben O'Connor. Picture: Dean Woolley

“It’s not a massive charity but they work on the idea that they are trying to prevent this coming through as opposed to curing it.”

Jonathan Phillips, Steelers’ captain and a former team-mate of Thomas’s at both club and international level, said there was no hesitiation from himself and his team-mates in stepping up to help raise money.

“As soon as Mark told us about Vick we all immediately wanted to support her and the family,” said Phillips.

“It’s a horrible illness but it’s treatable and Vick is getting the best treatment available right now. I think we all remember how much Mark and his family gave the Steelers, Vic was a big part of that so this is the very least we can do to support her.”

ON THE EDGE: Sheffield Steelers' captain, Jonathan Phillips. Picture: Dean Woolley.

To donate money to the Just Giving page set up by Mark and Vicki Thomas to raise funds for the Prevent Breast Cancer charity go HERE