Brumbies and Wallabies fly-half Christian Lealiifano has entered remission just six months after being diagnosed with Leukemia.
Lealiifano received the positive news exactly 100 days after his diagnosis and spoke to reporters about how he had to overcome negativity in his battle against the life-threatening malignant disease.
“As hard as it is to say, I’m definitely blessed to have gone through this experience because not many people experience it and the lessons you learn are massive,” Lealiifano told reporters (via the Sydney Morning Herald).
“Melbourne was tough… I had some really dark days where things got tough and all those negative thoughts come into your mind, the ‘why me’ and ‘should I just give up’ type stuff, but to be able to come out the other side of that has been quite an amazing thing.
“It’s important to be able to acknowledge that you can come out of the other side and think ‘that was pretty cruisy’ and feel good again and forget about the journey that you’ve been on.
“I was very lucky to have my family with me, we’ve bonded together in a way I can’t even explain and I’ve always been a man of faith which was only made stronger through this experience.”
The 29-year-old is already eyeing a return to the field and hopes to add to his 117 Super Rugby appearances and 19 Wallaby caps.
Lealiifano admitted that he still has a lot of work to get through before he can return to the field but that he still has high hopes of having a future in the game, both on and off the field.
“The doctors said the transplant was a success and everything is looking good in there and the cancer isn’t showing up so I’m in remission at the moment but there is still a ways to go,” he added.
“It’s a massive milestone today [Saturday] because that’s the time frame they sort of give you, 100 days after the transplant gives you a rough idea of where you stand, so to be cancer-free is quite amazing and why I’ve got a big smile on my face.
“You miss it because you love the game so much and it’s such a big part of my life but I’m such a student of the game and I love learning and picking up little things and trying to improve my game while I’m not playing.
“I’ve spoken to Bernie [coach Stephen Larkham] about some part-time coaching stuff, it’s more of a mentoring role, I’m keen to help out the younger guys and ease a bit of the load for Bernie.”
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena