Wednesday 17 January 2018

Noel McGrath: I told the lads about my cancer through WhatsApp

Tipperary star Noel McGrath
Tipperary star Noel McGrath

Tipperary hurler Noel McGrath has opened up on the heartache and shock of being diagnosed with cancer and revealed that he told his team-mates through a WhatsApp group.

The Premier corner-forward underwent surgery for testicular cancer last April and has since made a heroic return to the Tipperary team.

Speaking on last night's Second Captains Live, McGrath told of the devastation his diagnosis brought to himself and his family.

"We were on a training camp with Tipp, out in Spain. Going out there, I knew I wasn't full right and ended up spending a few days in bed actually sick. At the back of my head, I knew I wasn't full right. I knew when I got back that I had to see a doctor. The rest, as they say, is history from there," said McGrath.

"I knew for two or three weeks that there wasn't some full right. You're just hoping that you got hit in training or maybe you got a belt but the longer it was there, I knew something wasn't right. Thankfully I got looked after very well."

McGrath points to the fact that an early diagnosis will go along way in your long-term rehabilitation and he is extremely thankful he had good support around him.

"I suppose you're just afraid. You don't want to hear that there's something wrong with you and I was the same as anyone else. I've heard of people that have gone longer than two or three weeks and gone a year. You don't know what's going to happen. Thankfully I did, because you don't know what's going to happen down the line," added McGrath.

"I was just gutted. All thoughts are just going through your head. You don't know if you're coming or going. But there were good people around me. The family, the friends at home. It was good to have them around because they give you support.

"I just came into the kitchen at home and the mother wasn't expecting anything. So to land this on her, she was shocked. They just helped me through it and we got on with it together."

While McGrath rang many of his close friends to reveal the news, he took to WhatssApp to tell his Tipperary team-mates.

"It was on a Monday when I found out. I rang a few of my close friends from Loughmore, just to have a chat and let them know. On the Tuesday text a few more, let them know.

"We were training on the Wednesday night with Tipp. On Tuesday - I suppose lads were going to find out anyway, so I just wanted to let them know - I just threw it up on the Whatsapp group. It's the easiest way to do it, if you're trying to contact anyone these days.

"Plenty of the boys texted back and rang back with well wishes. They were there for most of the journey along, the club lads and the Tipp lads aswell."

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