Dafydd Hellard has been forced to withdraw from the Wales Students squad as he undergoes 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.
“I found that one of them didn’t feel right,” Hellard 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 tumours 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.”
For more information on testicular cancer, click here.