Squad members and staff from Sudbury Rugby Club have rallied behind a first-team player receiving treatment for cancer, as they prepare to produce a calendar for charity.
Harry Maile, 20, who has been in the Sudbury 1st XV for the last two years and part of the club since he was 11 years old, was diagnosed with testicular cancer earlier this year.
He is currently undergoing chemotherapy, following an operation to remove one of his testicles a month ago.
The club is now collaborating with the Oddballs charity, which raises money and awareness of the disease, and players are set to pose for a calendar at the end of this month, with proceeds going to the charity when it goes on sale at the start of the new season in September.
Harry, who notably scored the club’s play-off-winning try to secure promotion two seasons ago, said that he first noticed a lump well before his diagnosis, but, not thinking it was serious, put off getting an ultrasound for about a year.
Having started chemotherapy this week, he stated he was optimistic of being back to full health some time in the next few months.
“I have just had a good mindset about it all,” he said. “Everyone’s been so supportive. I can’t thank everyone enough for how supportive they have been.
“I just want people to be more aware. Never in a million years did I think it would happen to me.
“I just want to get it across to people how important it is to get checked. It’s just worth getting it checked.
“I didn’t do myself any favours because I left it a year. If you find something, don’t hesitate and call your GP.”
Harry added that he had taken inspiration from New Zealand international rugby player Aaron Cruden, who was also diagnosed with testicular cancer at the same age, but made a full recovery after his operation and has gone on to represent his country 50 times.
Natalie Whybrow, vice-chair of the Sudbury RUFC fundraising committee, whose husband also plays for the first team, said everyone at the club was keen to throw their support behind Harry, explaining they were not just teammates on the field, but also friends off it.
“It is a shock when things like this happen,” she said. “He has been so great about it and has had a sense of humour throughout.
“He is really keen to raise awareness. The club is doing all it can to help him.
“Obviously, being a team where many of our players are at the age of risk, we really want to promote self-checking in all men.”