Josh takes to the roads in aid of Barrow’s Hardcastle
When Lewis Hardcastle announced his retirement from football at the age of 22 this week, going hand in hand with the shock of the news was the outpouring of well wishes and offers of help.
One person who has certainly took the bull by the horns is Josh Askew, Chester City’s 23 year old left back.
As a good friend of Lewis’s, Josh is determined to do something and has come up with the idea of running 10 half marathon’s in the month of April.
Speaking to Sport Furness Josh explained “I grew up with Lewis at Blackburn Rovers Academy from a young age, we stayed with each other through the ranks until we were first year pros at the club. At 16 we were all living together in accommodation at the clubs training ground and we all looked up to Lewis. He was always the captain, and he was a player you needed on your team, leading by example and helping to make you a better player. He’d find you with a pass from 40 yards straight to your feet with no effort at all but would also have your back if anything ever kicked off. He’d be the first to role up his sleeves and get stuck in and he played and trained as an example to others on how to do it, he was the perfect professional at such a young age.”
“I spoke to Lewis the minute I heard the news. I sent him a heartfelt message but that night I couldn’t sleep. I honestly couldn’t get my head around it. I thought I’m not just going to be someone who wishes Lewis all the best and leaves it at that. I’m going to do something that will raise some money and spread awareness of Lewis’s condition as it could have been any of us”
Josh explained about his challenge “I’ll be doing the half marathons all around Manchester, I have friends both in and outside of football who want to join me on one of the half marathons so it looks like I won’t be on my own. They will all be joining me on one. I’ve got certain dates pencilled in to try and give myself enough rest and recovery time between each one. I know times are hard at the moment but any donations no matter how small will be gratefully received, Barrow fans are known in the game not just for their passionate support but for their generosity and I know they will be looking to help raise money not just for Lewis personally but to also help the continued research into the condition”.
As for raising awareness of heart problems in professional sport, Josh is well aware of how lucky Lewis was in being diagnosed before something terrible happened. “We only have to think back to Fabrice Muamba and his heart attack on the football pitch. Fabrice really turned that into a positive and has been actively campaigning ever since to raise awareness of heart disease but we all must continue to do more, this is why I have chosen to support the British Heart Foundation.”
To support Josh in his challenge you can donate here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/josh-askew2. Josh will also be posting updates of his progress on his twitter profile https://twitter.com/Askew_Joshua?s=20