Bradford Bulls’ Tom Holmes diagnosed with rare form of cancer

Ben Olawumi
Tom Holmes

Bradford Bulls' Tom Holmes (right) has announced that he has been diagnosed with Subcutaneous Panniculitis-Like T-cell Lymphoma (SPTCL), a rare form of cancer - Alamy

Bradford Bulls ace Tom Holmes has announced via social media that he has been diagnosed with Subcutaneous Panniculitis-Like T-cell Lymphoma (SPTCL), a rare form of cancer.

The 27-year-old – who has also played for Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Rovers & Huddersfield Giants among others – confirmed the diagnosis with a post on his Instagram account – @tomholmes96.

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Holmes wrote: “There’s been a lot of speculation recently about my health, so just just wanted to let people know from myself personally what’s actually going on. I saw: rapid decline in my health just as the season ended.

“After countless appointments, hospitals visits, biopsies & scans, the specialists told me to prepare for the worst & informed me that what we’re looking at is an extremely rare type of cancer (SPTCL) which would be treated by chemotherapy.

“This cancer effects less that 1% of people, so due to this, there is so much unknown still by the doctors themselves. There is still more testing I’ve got to go through & we’re working on a treatment plan.

“I’m trying to remain hopeful as the specialists are still looking at all options in the small hope that there’s something less sinister at play, however it’s looking less likely to be anything else at the moment & chemotherapy would have to start soon.

“So right now, I don’t have answers for anybody on what’s going to happen, but for now it’s just more tests and more waiting around.”

Bradford Bulls’ Tom Holmes diagnosed with rare form of cancer

Full-back or half-back Holmes had been preparing for a second season with Bradford having featured 25 times in their run to the play-offs last year, scoring 13 tries in the process.

The Castleford-born ace will now support from the sidelines as he continues his own battle away from the field.

He continued: “Bradford have been amazing with me every step of the way. I haven’t been able to take part in any pre-season until I know whats going on, but the club have done everything they can to support me through this tough time & I will be supporting the team & helping in any way I can.

“As vou can imagine, these last few months have been very difficult not just for myself, but my family too & those closest to me who have known.

“My partner & my kids have been my rock. I don’t know what I would do without them supporting me every single day no matter what it brings.

“I’ve decided to put this out publicly as it’s much easier emotionally for me & my family to let everybody know all at once. I know everybody is going to have questions & want to know things, but please understand that although I appreciate the love & support, I’m taking this time to rest & be with my family.”

Bulls throw their ‘unwavering support’ behind ‘inspiring’ Tom Holmes

Along with Holmes’ announcement today came messages of support from the Bulls themselves, head coach Eamon O’Carroll and CEO Jason Hirst the ones to provide comment.

O’Carroll, who only took charge at Odsal ahead of the upcoming campaign, said: “We are with Tom and will support him through this difficult period. Tom is a huge part of this group and will continue to be during this season.

“From day one as one of our senior players, he’s been a huge help for me, and I love working with him. I’m really proud of how he’s handled this and his attitude and bravery is inspiring.

“Myself, the team, staff and club are with him every step of the way, and I’m sure the rugby league community will offer their support.”

Meanwhile, Bulls chief Hirst added: “On both a personal and professional level, myself and everyone else at the club are deeply saddened by this terrible news.

“Tom remains an integral part of our club, and both he and his family continue to have our unwavering support, as do our other players, who have obviously been impacted by their friend’s and team-mate’s health issues.

“We appreciate that this news will come as a terrible shock to our loyal fans, as well as the wider rugby league community, but we do ask everyone to respect tom and his family’s privacy at this difficult time.”

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