'I've survived cancer three times... there is life after cancer' - Grandfather-of-two and well-known GAA referee (77)
A retired garda who has survived three cancers has urged men to be vigilant about their health and go for health checks every year.
Harry Lambe (77) from Dublin, who worked at the garda technical bureau and as a juvenile liaison officer, was first diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 27, just four months before his wedding.
“When I was 27, I was playing football, playing golf, running, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer and a junior doctor told my wife-to-be not to make any further plans for the wedding. Harry might only survive four months, he said.”
“That was 1968. I was playing football with Dublin at the time. At that time there was no radiation or chemotherapy. I was bleeding very heavily from the back passage.”
But he added: “We didn’t have to postpone the wedding. I had to have the testicle removed but I came out of that, and we got married after that in October.”
Lambe, who also refereed at Dublin GAA games for over 30 years, never smoked throughout his life but was again diagnosed with cancer six years ago.
“In 2012, I was diagnosed by Dr Deasy in Beaumont. He found a large tumour on the colon and after the colonoscopy he asked to call a family meeting. He advised six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, and after that wait we’d have to wait to see if the tumour went down to allow him to be able to go and operate. Thank God they were able to operate because it had gone down.”
“I said to my doctor would it be alright to play golf when I was waiting to see if the tumour shrank. I refereed three times a week and played golf, and that kept me going, the sport.”
Lambe, from Donnycarney in Dublin, was again diagnosed with lung cancer.
“Two years ago I got diagnosed with cancer of the lung and I had an operation in Blackrock Clinic. Since then, I’m after coming back slowly. My energy levels went down because of the removal of parts of the lung and it was only last January that I attempted to play golf again.”
“On the first day I did six holes, on another day then I did another six holes. I was bunched to make a long story short. But I played 18 holes last week and 18 holes the other day.”
Lambe, a grandfather of two and father of two, is keen to show that life can exist after cancer.
“I was doing running, cross country running in the guards for 21 years, playing football. I refereed soccer as well.”
“I’m just back playing golf again now after two years… There is life after cancer.”