AMANDA Williams and Hugh Atkinson have more in common than their beloved Melville Cricket Club – both have survived sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that affects fewer than 200 Australians each year.
Diagnosed less than six months apart in 2015, Hugh developed the disease in his lower leg while Ms Williams discovered a tumour in her left shoulder while participating in pre-season training with the Western Fury.
Both began chemotherapy immediately before undergoing surgery to remove their tumours.
Hugh has returned to cricket but said it was difficult dealing with fears he might have to give up the game he loves.
“I was diagnosed in March 2015 when I was 15,” he said.
I had four months of chemotherapy, followed by surgery to remove part of my fibula and some muscle in my lower leg and then another four months of chemo afterwards,” he said.
“I was worried I wouldn’t be able to play cricket – there was a chance my leg would be amputated but that didn’t end up happening luckily.”
Miss Williams was diagnosed in August that same year after noticing a painful lump in her shoulder.
“I played the previous season with the Western Fury and was just getting into preseason when it became really uncomfortable to sleep on my side or move and my shoulder just felt continually achy,” she said.
“I went to see a doctor and started a pretty aggressive round of chemotherapy and radiation two weeks after I was diagnosed.”
Ms Williams, then 26, had surgery to remove the tumour as well as some ribs and muscle from her back.
Her recovery has been slower and she is yet to return to cricket but remains involved through umpiring, which she took up this season.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to play State cricket again because I have a limited range of motion, especially above my head, but I’ll possibly look at getting back into a little bit of club cricket next season,” she said.
Both Hugh and Ms Williams are looking forward to the inaugural, metropolitan-wide Sock it to Sarcoma round on February 4 and 5.
Melville Cricket Club will battle Perth for the Hugh and Amanda Cup, with the result of every fixture from under-13 to Premier Grade tallied to determine the winner.
Supported by the Western Australian District Cricket Council, the round raises awareness and funding for sarcoma.
Melville Cricket Club will collect donations on Saturday, February 4 at Tompkins Park.
Donations can also be made directly to the Sock it to Sarcoma charity through its website.