Welsh rugby ace joins in school’s fundraiser for can­cer cen­tre

Glamorgan Gazette - - News - ABBY BOLTER abby.bolter@waleson­line.co.uk

FOR­MER Wales full back Mor­gan Stod­dart has first hand ex­pe­ri­ence of the vi­tal work done at Velin­dre Can­cer Cen­tre.

He had chemo­ther­apy at the Cardiff hos­pi­tal in 2016 af­ter a shock tes­tic­u­lar can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

Hav­ing re­cov­ered, he is now sup­port­ing the cen­tre to con­tinue its work help­ing pa­tients through the toughest time of their lives.

On Fri­day, the 33-yearold from Rhondda, who is now head coach at Cross Keys RFC, took part in a static bike ride in a Brid­gend school as part of the fundrais­ing Wear Red for Wales and Velin­dre day, held ahead of Wales’ first clash of the Six Na­tions against Scot­land on Satur­day.

“I think it’s a good way of show­ing our sup­port for the great work they do,” said Mor­gan.

“I didn’t re­ally feel any dif­fer­ent to usual [when I was di­ag­nosed]. It was more of a shock find­ing out about it and I just de­cided to keep it to my­self and my fam­ily.”

Af­ter dis­cov­er­ing a lump on his tes­ti­cle in May 2016 Mor­gan’s wife Ni­chola told him to get it checked out. He had a biopsy, which re­vealed it was can­cer, fol­lowed by chemo­ther­apy at Velin­dre.

Mor­gan said he would urge other men who might fear some­thing is wrong to go to the doc­tor as soon as pos­si­ble.

“You have just got to try and just get over the em­bar­rass­ment and think about the fact that it could be worse.

“I didn’t re­ally think about it at the time. I didn’t think too neg­a­tively I just got on with it. I didn’t feel un­well so I was lucky from that point of view.

“But when you get down to Velin­dre it’s crazy to see the amount of peo­ple there. It brought it home how many peo­ple have can­cer but they [Velin­dre] are just su­perb at what they do.

“I had my year scan the other day and they said ev­ery­thing is fine, but I will have to go back for more check ups.”

The dad of two helped teach­ers and pupils at Arch­bishop McGrath Catholic High School cover 185 miles, the dis­tance from the school to Heathrow Air­port. It was one of a num­ber of fundrais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing a teacher’s bake-off, a bake sale and net­ball and foot­ball matches which raised at least £500 on the day.

Mor­gan’s mum Julie, who is the school’s at­ten­dance of­fi­cer, said they had cho­sen to “ride” to Heathrow to help Mor­gan pre­pare for the West Coast 600km bike ride, which he will be do­ing in the US in Septem­ber to raise even more funds for Velin­dre.

She said: “It re­ally shook us up when Mor­gan was di­ag­nosed. Velin­dre has meant a lot to us as a fam­ily. I know a lot of chil­dren here have had per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence as well.”

ABBY BOLTER

For­mer Wales full­back Mor­gan Stod­dart sup­ported Wear Red for Wales by tak­ing part in a fundrais­ing bike ride at Arch­bishop McGrath Catholic High School

Mor­gan pic­tured with the Year 7 food and nu­tri­tion class and teacher An­gela Townsend

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