Tuesday 12 December 2017

GAA legend Hayes reveals cancer battle

GAA star Liam Hayes has revealed that he is battling an aggressive form of cancer.

The former Meath Gaelic footballer revealed on the Late Late Show that he has been diagnosed with a high grade form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

And he has been told by doctors that the aggressive chemotherapy treatment will either save his life or kill him.

Mr Hayes (48) discovered the tumour growing under his jaw when he was shaving just last month.

The young dad was told that the form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma is high-grade and seriously aggressive.

"A lump came up under my jaw overnight," he said. "I looked at it for three weeks but it wouldn't go away."

"I went into hospital, had the checks at St James's Hospital in Dublin. The surgeon said that chemotherapy will either kill it or kill me."

Less than three weeks after he was diagnosed, he was receiving chemotherapy.

"You can say what you like about the HSE, but I had an 18-day turnaround," he said.

But the determined former Gaelic football player said that he will beat the cancer.

He now feels he has a new lease of life and is beginning to write a column in a Sunday newspaper to reflect on life during his ongoing treatment.

"Even in the short time I've had it, you get a sense of clear-headedness," he said. "In this recession, clear-headedness is a luxury.

"My oncologist is very positive about it. The third biopsy showed improved results and he said I had an 80pc chance, but even 99pc wouldn't satisfy me."

Mr Hayes won championship medals for Meath in 1987 and 1988 and is now an expert analyst on TV3.

A key player on Sean Boylan's Meath team of the 80s and 90s who went on to manage the Carlow football team, he says he knows it will be difficult.

"I know I have a long road ahead of me," he said.

"I have to get well and then get back to full health and that could take two years. Losing my hair is the easy part."

The double All-Ireland winning captain clinched victory with his side while simultaneously working as a full-time journalist.

The Meath team went on to contest four All-Ireland finals (winning two) and won five Leinster titles.

Hayes was man of the match in the 1987 All-Ireland final.


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