The 27-year-old was himself diagnosed with bowel cancer in August last year and underwent two operations to remove his entire large bowel and have his stoma reversed. Thankfully, he was given the amazing news that he was all-clear just before Christmas and made his long-awaited return to training back in January.
Now, MacDonald has accepted an invitation to become Bowel Cancer UK’s patron, in the hope that together they can raise funds and awareness that will help the charity to make much-needed progress in its aims to save lives and improve the quality of life for all those affected by the disease.
“Being a patron of Bowel Cancer UK is very special to me and something that was always on my radar once I got diagnosed,” he said.
“Having overcome the challenges that I faced, I wanted to give something back and raise as much awareness of the disease as possible.
“Although bowel cancer is more common in the over 50s, it can affect people of all ages. More than 2,500 people under 50, just like me, are diagnosed with the disease in the UK every year.
“I want to support Bowel Cancer UK to help raise awareness and encourage younger people to recognise the symptoms and visit their GP if they’re concerned.”
To kick off his support, MacDonald took part in the 2.6 Challenge at the weekend as part of #teambowelcancer, cycling a total of 26 miles.
The 2.6 Challenge was set up to help UK charities replace some of the estimated loss of £4billion of income due to the coronavirus pandemic – and the Tigers’ centre-back was only too happy to play his part.
“I didn’t actually realise that April was a big month for Bowel Cancer awareness, but I wanted to get involved as soon as possible and start to raise some money for the charity,” he added.
“I couldn’t do as much as I wanted because we’re so late in the month but I was pleased to be able to get involved with the 2.6 Challenge at the weekend.
“I must admit I had a few sore areas afterwards but it was all worthwhile. I love a challenge and it was nice to occupy my day with something different.
“Obviously, I stuck by government guidelines and did 13 miles on the inside bike and a further 13 miles on the outside bike. It was good fun, exciting and, again, I was just pleased to be able to raise awareness for the charity.
“Hopefully there will be plenty more of that come in the future as well. My main focus is to get back out on the pitch playing first-team football in order to get my career back on track.
“But I’m determined to do my bit for Bowel Cancer UK as well. I want to do as much as I can to help them continue the excellent work they do. Hopefully, there are many more activities to raise both funds and awareness and to come.”
At the time of writing, MacDonald has raised more than £3,000 through his 2.6 Challenge. Donations and sponsorship of any size can still be made by clicking here.
More than 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK and tragically it remains the UK’s second-biggest cancer killer, claiming 16,000 lives a year.
Bowel Cancer UK is the UK’s leading bowel cancer research charity. They support and enable research, educate patients, public and professionals about bowel cancer and campaign for early diagnosis and best treatment and care for all those affected. Find out more at bowelcanceruk.org.uk.