AFL Stars Cancer Battle

Everybody faced with a life threatening illness must find their own way of dealing with it.

Most of us withdraw into the most intimate of family circles. It’s self preservation.  The thought that your life could be measured in months rather than years brings everything sharply into focus.  It’s now about survival not where you’ll spend your next holidays.

Keeping enquiring friends and well wishers at bay can be daunting – they may have the best intentions but  until you’re ready to talk they should simply let you know they’re there for you, when you need them.

Having a public profile magnifies it all a thousand fold.  People you’ve never met feel they know you well enough to ask some pretty personal questions.  Thanks for the good will but a little space please.

Adelaide Football Club legend Tyson Edwards recently came out to announce he’d been diagnosed with testicular cancer  before the 2010 season. He shared the news with just a few. None of his fellow team mates knew other than captain Simon Goodwin. Coach Neil Craig was told along with two or three other Club officials.
After having the  cancerous testicle removed Edwards returned to pre season training and despite struggling with a dramatic down turn in energy levels played the first half of the season.

With form below his own high expectations his career ended in a tumultuous farewell game where he summoned up his very best to kick two goals, gather 32 possessions and lead the Crows to victory.

Edwards left the game after 321 games a true champion.

The secret of his cancer scare may have remained a secret but Edwards saw his battle as a way of bringing the importance of men’s health issues to public notice. Testicular cancer can hit males from 15 to 30 and beyond.

He hopes”going public’ will inspire men to be more aware of their health and have regular checkups.

Tyson is a very private man, totally unaffected by the glamour and high life surrounding AFL players.  For him to come out publicly and talk about a very personal and traumatic part of his life was not easy.

I interviewed Tyson and his wife Mandy for Today Tonight, and the bond between them was immediately apparent. It re-inforced my belief that without close family and friends the cancer journey would be almost intolerable.

A good carer  makes a massive difference  – I cannot begin to imagine how hard it would be to cope without one while dealing with serious illness.

Carers of this world take a bow (if you have the time).

Tyson Edwards is looking towards a career in player management. I couldn’t think of anyone more suited to the role of  manager and mentor, someone who set the highest standards both on and off the field.

Parents with sons headed for the AFL could entrust him to manage their boys career with full confidence, which would be very reassuring in light of recent player manager headlines.

Congratulations Tyson for “going public” and highlighting the importance of young men taking ownership of their health.

It’s nice to hear a posiitve storey about an AFL star.


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