“I cried, I had been given a chance, it was the best feeling I have ever had.”
These are the words of 22-year-old Alex Stedman who has just been told he has beaten cancer.
Active and healthy football fanatic Alex, a media officer at Crawley Town Football Club, was given the harrowing news that he had testicular cancer at the beginning of the year.
But now he has been given the all-clear and described how he will ‘not be looking back’.
He said: “I cried when I was told and so did my nurse as she had two 22 year olds.”
His mum and dad were also in tears.
Alex said: “It must have been really hard for them as it’s only me. We’re very much a three and pride ourselves on that.
“I did not know how to feel – it was a massive weight off my shoulders. I had always been planning to make that next visit to hospital. I had been given a chance and it was the best feeling I have ever had.
“I don’t want to jinx it and I am not looking back now. I was very scared as it’s a big word, you never think it is going to be you.
“I didn’t want a huge celebration, it was just great to have my life back and I just wanted to go back to normal.”
Alex, who lives with his mum, Liz, 56, and dad, John, 63, started suffering pain and thought he better get it checked out.
He said: “They couldn’t find anything wrong at first and let me go. The word cancer was never mentioned and I naturally assumed they did not expect it and it wasn’t important.
“However, they eventually found a tumour. By the end of January after the operation I was back in the gym, I thought it was gone and went back to normal. But a week later I had a call saying they had found traces of cancer.
“I was given the most intensive chemotherapy as they said I was young and fit. I was mostly tired, for me it felt like I had a bad hangover everyday.
“It was so surreal and I guess I pretended it wasn’t happening, I didn’t want to sit around just feeling sorry for myself. I went back to work in the last two weeks of chemo.”
Alex joined Crawley Town as an intern a year ago, after completing a Sports Journalism degree at Southampton Solent University.
He will join the club full-time on July 1.
During his treatment he received a number of signed football shirts and messages of support from other clubs. He even got to lead out his favourite team, Charlton Athletic FC, which he said was ‘beyond his wildest dreams’.
He said: “I’ve been a season ticket holder since I was a child. Every kid grows up and dreams of leading out their favourite team. I guess I lived this dream. It was incredible.
“Work have been brilliant too, my appearance was not an issue and was never going to be. Losing my hair was the hardest for me.
“John Hartson also rang me which was an invaluable phone call. He suffered from testicular cancer and set up The John Hartson Foundation.
“We have arranged for the football shirts to be auctioned off at a variety of sport events and will decide after what charity the money will go to.”
Alex said the experience had ‘massively changed his perception on things’.
He added: “It has made me feel grateful of everything. Things I would once complain about were nothing!”
Kelly Derham, operations director at Crawley Town, said: “We’re very proud of what Alex has achieved in turning such a negative into a positive.
“The response from clubs has been brilliant, and the way he’s dealt with it all.”
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