As Andrew Fenby will get to the crunch level of his inspirational story of restoration from not only stage two most cancers, but additionally the lack of his enterprise, he briefly pauses to indicate an extended scar down the centre of his abdomen.

It tells you every little thing you must find out about what has been a troublesome 18 months for the 36-year-old. 

‘It is my crocodile chew, as my son Freddie refers to it,’ Fenby tells Sportsmail.

Andrew Fenby with his children Freddie and Bertie during his recovery from cancer

Andrew Fenby together with his kids Freddie and Bertie throughout his restoration from most cancers

Fenby’s scar from the seven-hour op he had to remove cancer from his lymph nodes

Fenby’s scar from the seven-hour op he needed to take away most cancers from his lymph nodes

‘I first observed an issue once I was placing Freddie into the automobile and he kicked me flush in my proper testicle. I instantly felt one thing wasn’t proper and booked in to see the GP who advised it was probably only a trauma and despatched me away. However I ought to have trusted my intuition.

‘I knew one thing wasn’t proper. Sadly, I misplaced 9 weeks and in October 2020, I bought a personal scan and the advisor simply gulped.

‘He mentioned it was very probably it was testicular most cancers and we needed to get transferring.

‘I had the appropriate testicle eliminated virtually instantly, however then I had a CT scan and that confirmed the most cancers was stage two.

‘It had gone from my testicle as much as my stomach and was in my lymph nodes.

‘I might had two months of chemotherapy within the December and January and had secured a brand new job, however then we needed to go trying to find the lymph nodes.

‘I used to be minimize open and so they took all my insides out.

‘It was an enormous operation in June final 12 months. I used to be out for seven hours, I believe.’

After 12 seasons in skilled rugby and 126 tries in 214 video games, Fenby, from North Wales, retired in 2016. He had spectacular stints at London Irish and Welsh facet Scarlets in addition to Newcastle.

He additionally briefly got here out of retirement to play for Saracens on a short-term deal after their then wing Chris Ashton was handed an extended ban for biting. He then moved on to a profitable post-rugby profession.

Fenby was thriving within the hustle and bustle of London’s company world and had set-up his personal rugby company when, within the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, he was hit by a seismic double blow.

Fenby, pictured with his wife Henni, received lots of support from the rugby world

Fenby, pictured together with his spouse Henni, acquired a lot of assist from the rugby world

‘I had quite a bit hit me directly. You do not count on that,’ Fenby says. ‘Covid decimated the rugby business and I needed to make the robust choice to shut the company.

‘Within the week I closed it, I then bought my most cancers prognosis. As dangerous weeks go, that was up there.’

Fenby is matter-of-fact when reflecting on his outstanding journey, however the actuality is just not many would have had the power he confirmed within the face of such adversity to not only survive, however thrive.

‘I’ve now been in a position to replicate on what’s occurred within the final 18 months,’ he says. ‘I noticed most cancers as a health check I used to be going to crush. I wasn’t going to let it beat me.

‘I had a sportsman’s mentality the place I used to be so targeted and single-minded. One 12 months in the past, my household and I had been going by means of a really tough time. We had simply had a child, I might closed my firm, after which I bought the most cancers prognosis. That is robust in any scenario, however within the depths of the pandemic we needed to lockdown and keep extraordinarily remoted whereas I went by means of my therapy.

‘It was actually robust. One of many only silver linings of Covid was we had briefly moved from London again to my hometown in North Wales which meant we had the assist of my dad and mom.

‘They had been unimaginable throughout the entire 12 months we ended up spending there and I am so grateful to them for every little thing they did for us.

‘All of us bought by means of it, however only now can I actually see they had been fairly darkish instances.

Fenby collects the Blyth Spirit Award at the Rugby Players’ Association dinner earlier this year

Fenby collects the Blyth Spirit Award on the Rugby Gamers’ Affiliation dinner earlier this 12 months

‘Now, 18 months on, the great instances are again. I had my final scan three weeks in the past and it was all clear. You possibly can obtain something in life if you’d like it or work onerous sufficient’

On the sector, Fenby excelled as a proficient again with an eye fixed for the try-line and credit the rugby neighborhood with enjoying an enormous position in serving to his fightback.

Two of his outdated power and conditioning coaches offered very important recommendation. Ben Pollard and Andre Quinn – each of whom suffered with the identical sickness – had been rocks of assist.

Former Wales internationals Matthew Rees and Morgan Stoddart and present centre Johnny Williams additionally bought in contact as they too had fought testicular most cancers.

Jebb Sinclair, Alex Lewington, Conor Gilsenan and Dom Day had been among the many a whole bunch of others from the game who bought in contact. The Fenby family was filled with playing cards and items.

‘One of many nice issues about rugby is you meet so many nice individuals. When one thing like this occurs to you, you realise how a lot assist you may have,’ Fenby says with a smile.

‘The home was stuffed with Fortnum & Mason hampers and wholesome meals. It was unimaginable.’

The 36-year-old is matter-of-fact when reflecting on his remarkable 18-month journey

The 36-year-old is matter-of-fact when reflecting on his outstanding 18-month journey

Fenby is speaking to Sportsmail as a result of he needs to boost consciousness of testicular most cancers and assist those that have been or are in the identical place wherein he discovered himself.

This can be a man who fought battles on the sector after which confronted a brand new opponent head on.

‘By no means, ever in one million years did I believe I might should undergo this,’ Fenby provides calmly.

‘It was an enormous shock. Since you are bodily match as a rugby player, you do not suppose one thing like this may blindside you from nowhere.

‘As daft because it sounds, I did not have any moments of doubt at any level.

‘I knew I used to be going to return out the opposite finish. Perhaps the only level at which I believed ‘Woah’ was once I first bought the information I had stage two most cancers and I wanted chemotherapy.

‘These are scary phrases. For just a few hours then I used to be like ‘Oh my God. Is my life ending right here?’ However when you converse to individuals who have been by means of the identical factor, you can begin to be extra rational.

Fenby is back living in Chiswick and has started a successful new career in the tech industry

Fenby is again dwelling in Chiswick and has began a profitable new profession within the tech business

‘If another person can do one thing, so are you able to. I am an enormous believer in that. I wished to maintain pushing myself by means of the chemotherapy. If I had laid in mattress pondering I used to be going to really feel c***, then I in all probability was going to really feel c***.

‘I made a lot of calls to mates. I did a mini on-line diploma in pc science. I went working a few times, albeit very slowly. I used to be breaking data for my slowest 5 kilometres!

‘My oncologist did say to me ‘What are you doing? Relax’ however I instructed him I wasn’t making an attempt to interrupt data and was listening to my physique. Your thoughts is probably the most highly effective factor.

‘I stayed in hospital for per week after my large operation in June and misplaced 10 kilos. As a result of they took all my insides out and juggled my abdomen round, my urge for food turned off.

‘To place a crumb to my lips for 2 weeks was a chore. However after that, I began my new job in mid-August and in September, I used to be again working and enjoying aggressive squash.

‘By mid-October, I used to be competing for Queen’s Membership in squash and in April, I ran the London Landmarks half marathon. That is simply me.’

Earlier this 12 months, Fenby – who describes chemotherapy as having a ‘gentle hangover’ – was honoured on the Rugby Gamers’ Affiliation awards.

Fenby fending off a tackle during his playing career at London Irish in September 2013

Fenby keeping off a deal with throughout his enjoying profession at London Irish in September 2013

He was a joint winner alongside Leicester coach Kevin Sinfield of the Blyth Spirit Award – one given to those that have proven true present braveness within the face of adversity.

It’s onerous to think about two extra deserving recipients.

‘To be alongside Kevin with every little thing he is achieved and completed for Rob Burrow and motor neurone illness was unimaginable. He is superhuman and so loyal and humble,’ Fenby provides.

‘While you undergo dangerous moments, it makes you admire your relationships with family and friends and the way essential these are. My recommendation to anybody studying can be to put money into these relationships since you by no means know whenever you’ll want that assist.

‘Behind my thoughts now I am at all times pondering ‘What if’ so it is about cherishing moments. I am so fortunate I’ve a tremendous spouse and two unimaginable little boys who bought me by means of this.’

A father to Freddie, 4, and Bertie, two, Fenby is again dwelling in Chiswick together with his spouse Henni and has began a profitable new profession within the tech business.

‘Life is sweet as soon as once more,’ Fenby smiles. ‘I by no means got down to be an inspiration to others, however hopefully I could be there for different individuals to see that most cancers could be manageable and you’ll come out the opposite finish stronger than ever.

‘That is how I might wish to be considered.’


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Londonlad
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