13th July 2018, 14:15
Testicular cancer forces Dafydd Hellard to withdraw from Wales Students squad
The Wales Rugby League Students side will be missing one player for next week’s Home International tournament at Sardis Road in Pontypridd as the experienced Dafydd Hellard has withdrawn
from the squad as he’s receiving chemotherapy for testicular cancer.
The 33-year old mature student from Treharris, represented Wales Students in last year’s World Cup. A former professional with South Wales Scorpions and currently player-coach at Valley Cougars, Hellard has represented Wales at under 19s and Dragonhearts level in addition to the students and has coached rugby league at junior level. In rugby union, he came through the Cardiff Blues academy and has turned out for local rugby union clubs in South Wales that include Merthyr, Mountain Ash, Rhymney and Monmouth.
But after all those encounters on the field, he’s now going through the biggest battle of his life, and it’s thanks to him checking his balls that he can fight this.
“I found that one of them didn’t feel right,” he said. “It was solid when it shouldn’t have been.
“So I went to the doctors and the results came back that it was testicular cancer.
“The one testicle was removed within the week, but the cancer has now spread and I have three tumors in my stomach that I’m currently receiving chemotherapy for.
"I am confident that I can beat this with chemotherapy but there are other options should I need them.
“I have good days and bad days but I do hope to be at Sardis Road next week to cheer the lads on.
"I’m overwhelmed with all the support and messages of encouragement from everyone, I’ve received good luck wishes from all of the rugby league clubs in Wales, and this shows how tight we are as a sport and how much we look after each other in times of need. Thanks everyone.
"Please lads, check your balls on a regular basis - it's a great excuse to cop a feel - or as a little treat you could ask your partner to check them for you!
"If you think something is wrong, then go the doctors immediately as timing is the key. Don’t feel embarrassed, if you’re wrong and you’re healthy, they won’t care. You got checked and that was main thing, and if something is wrong, then stay positive as testicular is the most treatable of any cancer."
Hellard and Emanuelli after playing for Wales in last year's Student World Cup.
Wales Students head coach Paul Emanuelli said: “Dai and myself are really close and go back a long way. When he first told me he thought something was wrong I was on his case to get to the doctors, he went and then got the horrendous news.
“When he told me I was devastated. I sat down took it all in and the first thing that came to my mind was if anyone can beat it this man can.
“Dai being Dai has been positive throughout which has probably made everyone around him feel more positive. He smashed the operation and all seemed well, continued to train and even managed to captain the Students against the Paras which really pleased myself and the coaching staff.
“Then after receiving the bad news that the cancer had spread, he had to pull out of the squad. It’s a massive blow for us but in the grand scheme of things, all the lads and I really care about is his health.
“I know Dai is going to beat this and we’re all 100% behind him. He’s a good friend and great bloke in general, that everyone loves.”
For more information on testicular cancer, please go to https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/testicular-cancer