‘Here if you need’: how warmth of women’s sport community helped me through cancer | Sport


While waiting around on success from a biopsy on a suspicious lump in my breast, I was carrying out an enhancing change on Guardian Australia’s activity desk. Soccer writer Samantha Lewis submitted a tale on Melbourne Town and New Zealand player Rebekah Stott that delved into her diagnosis and treatment method for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. At 1st, I wasn’t sure it was a story I ought to be functioning on at that moment, but as I read it, I felt calmer. For a prolonged time, women’s sport experienced been my household and below was a tale about another person who was aspect of that local community who had absent by way of a little something similar. It was my very first signal that getting aspect of this local community would be my saving grace.

A minor a lot more than a 7 days later I gained the cell phone connect with that would alter my lifestyle. This was the unique expertise of remaining diagnosed with cancer through a lockdown. Relatively than sitting confront to experience with my GP, who has cared for me for 10 decades, I was crouched in a corner of the shared yard in our device block when I heard the news on a telehealth appointment – hoping to get adequate reception to hear the health practitioner when still keeping some semblance of privateness.

Inspite of obtaining no relatives background or danger components, the lump was breast cancer and from then on, every little thing was a whirlwind. Nine months on, I’m nonetheless not positive I have processed accurately what took place to me, I simply just put my head down and did what I needed to do to get by it. There didn’t look to be any other selection – in a 7 days I was having surgical procedure, then a 7 days later on I found out that more surgery was essential as the cancer unfold additional than we had imagined. That also meant I could not avoid chemotherapy, so on to that it was, carefully followed by radiotherapy.

Compounding all this of course, was the ongoing results of the pandemic. No readers in the medical center while I recovered from surgical treatment or at any of my early appointments. But even with all this, I never ever really felt by itself. I experienced the support of my outstanding spouse, loved ones and close friends of training course – I knew they would be there for me and I could not have finished any of this with no them.

Megan Maurice (second left) with fellow nominees at the AIS sports media awards in Sydney earlier this year.
Megan Maurice (second remaining) with fellow nominees at the AIS sports activities media awards in Sydney before this calendar year. Photograph: Supplied by Megan Maurice

But I also resolved to share my story on social media mainly because I experienced under no circumstances imagined I would end up with breast most cancers. I wished people to be notify to the likelihood and remain vigilant with their checks and I understood that normally the ideal way to impart messages like that is by way of personal tales.

Inside of several hours of sharing my story on line, I was confused with the love and support that came again at me in waves – most notably from the women’s sport group. I received messages, presents and bouquets from all about the country. From friends, colleagues and sporting admirers to professional athletes, clubs and nationwide organisations, this community rallied all-around me in techniques I hardly ever expected.

Feelings are with you and your family members be sure to please permit me know if there is nearly anything that can be accomplished to support assistance you via this x

— Caitlin Bassett (@CBassNetball) Oct 26, 2021

Stay robust @meganmaurice and thank you for sharing your story. This sort of an vital reminder about breast self checks

— Alex Blackwell (@AlexBlackwell2) October 17, 2021

It is a group I have been a component of considering the fact that I very first got access to the world-wide-web and identified persons who cherished netball as much as I did. From there it snowballed into cricket, rugby league, AFLW and football, our particular person communities of passionate enthusiasts obtaining every other, intertwining and studying to love each individual other’s athletics as nicely. For quite a few of us who really like women’s sport, the often-harmful world of Twitter is our dwelling, it’s wherever we discovered each individual other and have carved out heat and protected corners to share our adore.

Lots of of the people today in this neighborhood I have never ever fulfilled. We are unfold across the state, across the world even, but we discuss and share our stories almost each individual working day. They are people I care deeply about and I was shocked and overjoyed to uncover that they cared just as a lot about me.

It encouraged me so considerably that I produced them an integral aspect of my chemotherapy approach. With ongoing constraints, I wasn’t usually capable to have a help person with me for these extensive, at times distressing and generally uninteresting infusion periods. The nurses were pleasant, but chaotic, and I often invested numerous hrs by yourself in my minimal cubicle, hunting out about the targeted traffic on Missenden Road. And so I imagined of means to deliver my neighborhood together with me. I created a collaborative playlist and asked everyone to include one particular song to it – a little something that would help me get by therapy. A lot of of these music had been tied to memories we shared from women’s sporting events – from Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off that penetrated each and every inch of the 2015 Netball World Cup, to Lorde’s Green Light-weight that introduced again memories of doing the job on the sidelines at the 2018 Commonwealth Online games and Katy Perry’s Roar which right away took me back to the 2020 T20 Planet Cup final at the MCG.

I also wore a shirt from a women’s sporting group to every single chemo session. Every a single arrived with its possess stories and emotions. In many means, cancer remedy decreased me to childhood – I grew to become a lot a lot more dependant than I was snug with and I essential tales to assist me by. As a long-time fangirl, elite feminine athletes are my superheroes. So a lot as a youngster might dress up like Elsa or Spiderman to assist them by chemotherapy, I dressed as my heroes and channelled the fierce dedication of Alex Blackwell and Nat Medhurst, the outstanding resilience of Ash Brazill and Amy Parmenter, the heart and energy of Hannah Darlington and Sharelle McMahon and the power and management of Kezie Apps and Emma Tonegato.

It has not been an easy nine months and though the worst is ideally behind me, cancer has turn into part of my lifetime story, anything that will linger prolonged soon after the scans are clear. When it is under no circumstances a little something I wished or expected, I acquire silver linings wherever I can locate them. And possessing the full women’s activity neighborhood stand at the rear of me declaring “Here if you need” is probably the most effective silver lining of all.


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Anna C. Knight

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