This article is courtesy of the Sydney Uni Hockey Club.
About a fortnight ago Sydney Uni Hockey Club (SUHC) men’s 1st grade player Chris Pelow sought advice on a sore foot. It was soon diagnosed as a synovial sarcoma, a rare and nasty cancer that mostly affects young people. There is only one treatment, and Chris’s lower leg was amputated within a few days of the diagnosis.
Chris is 24. He is SUHC’s own life-of the-party Irishman off the field, and a seriously tough player on the field. He represented Ireland in the past, and was one of SUHC’s our top goal scorers in 2011. Like all great players, he has shown great courage and focus in dealing with this twist of fate, including calmly informing his team mates about the cancer and treatment at training the evening before the operation. He had wanted them to have the facts and know he was coping, and felt he should tell them in person.
Chris’s clubmates will soon announce a number of events to enable the whole community to help him, but their level of support is already quite amazing. Damo Cunningham (5th grade) is the health professional who first saw Chris and quickly put him on a path to early detection. Dougal Alexander (1st grade) is a radiographer who helped guide Chris through the world of scans and MRIs. Sanjeev Gupta (formerly 1st grade, now Masters) is an orthopaedic surgeon who saw Chris and explained the medical issues. Mark Crennan (the club captain) and Chris Moylan (1st grade coach) took leave from work to accompany Chris on this journey. They have organised for Chris’s parents, Ronan and Suzanne, to fly out from Ireland, and are helping look after them here. Many others from the club have already offered all forms of support for Chris and his family, and the support and friendship from Ireland has been overwhelming.
The operation last week went well, and we are hoping Chris will soon be out of hospital. We wish him all the best as he reorganises his life.
Please watch the SUHC website (http://www.suhc.asn.au/) to see details of forthcoming events to assist Chris and his family.