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