Date: 15th October 2008 at 4:47pm
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Geoff Horsfield’s cancer battle: Part 2
By Ian Clarkson www.givemefootball.com

‘All I could think was I’m a fit, 34-year-old – why me?’

In the second part of givemefootball.com’s exclusive interview with Geoff Horsfield, the striker talks about his future plans but first reveals the moment his worst fears were confirmed at Little Aston Hospital in Sutton Coldfield?

‘I went to see a Urologist called Michael Foster at Little Aston Hospital and when he confirmed that I had testicular cancer, my initial thought was why me?’ added Horsfield.

‘I am sure most people who are diagnosed with cancer feel the same but I thought ‘I am a 34-year old who is fit and strong and young in terms of life’.

‘My lifestyle is healthy and I eat well even though I have a beer at the right time and I have never hurt anyone so you constantly ask yourself what you have done wrong? I rang my mother and on Friday Tina and I both headed up north and I just sat with my mum over the weekend in Barnsley and had a good drink to try and block it all out.

‘However, once the weekend had passed I just had a strong desire to get this illness out of my body whatever it takes.’

It was at this moment that Horsfield’s spirits were lifted by a surprise call from another footballer whose career was hit by testicular cancer. Neil Harris was diagnosed in his early 20s but recovered and still enjoyed a professional career and his words were of great solace to Horsfield.

Geoff continued: ‘I had a phone call out of the blue from Neil Harris who just said ‘how are you feeling?’ He was only 23 when he discovered he had testicular cancer and he told me was really scared about losing his testicles at that age.

‘However, the way I feel at present I don’t care if I lose both of my testicles now as I just want it out of my system. I am going in for an operation on Thursday (October 16) to have it removed and I think they are going to remove it through a scar in my stomach from where I had a double hernia operation.

‘The biopsy will come back in seven days and then I will know what needs to be done. The Urologist told me that to have no treatment at all was very rare so I am bracing myself for either radiotherapy or chemotherapy.’

Horsfield admits breaking the news to his two daughters Chloe (12) and Leah (eight) was arguably the most difficult task he had undertaken in his life and his pragmatic approach stood him in good stead. ‘I sat them both down and said ‘I have got something to tell you’

‘They were both excited as I had mentioned going to play abroad in somewhere like America or Australia for the last couple of years of my career and I think they thought we were going on holiday. Chloe took the news badly as she has more of a concept at 12 and when she started crying, Leah followed and that was undoubtedly the worst thing I have ever had to do in my life.

‘She thought her dad was going to die and I have played it down and said I will have to wear a baseball cap rather than talk about chemotherapy.’

Nevertheless, Horsfield is already planning for his future, which is a positive sign and he admits he hopes it involves staying in football. ‘I have retired as I am 35 in November and there is no way I will be fit enough to play professionally for a while so I can look forward to playing for Birmingham City old boys (Horsfield made his debut and scored on Sunday October 12!).

‘I have already had a couple of business propositions and I intend to take my coaching badges to give me options as I have got a lot of contacts in non-league, which is where I started. The chairman of FC Halifax, who are now in the Unibond League, said I could always go back there as a player-coach and that was a real boost to know.

‘Who knows what the future holds but I am determined to beat this.’

Republished with kind permission from www.givemefootball.com
Official website of the Professional Footballers’ Association

 

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