Former Dublin Gaelic footballer and current Melbourne Demons President Jim Stynes has revealed he has cancer.
The 43-year-old told a press conference this morning in Melbourne that he will be taking a break from his role at the Aussie Rules club, due to “health reasons”.
Stynes revealed to the assembled media how he found out that he had cancer.
Three weeks ago I found out that I had a lump in my back. It was just random and guys told me that I should take it out and have a look at it, he said.
I found out that it was cancerous and so I was sent in to do a whole load of follow-up tests and scans and so on.
I found out that I thought it might be just located in that one area - but it’s not.
It’s spread quite a bit and I have a journey to go on lets say.
While he will remain at the helm of the Melbourne Football Club, his responsibilities will be lessened and his duties will be delegated to other board members in the interim, as he bids to return to full health.
Stynes was supported at the press conference by his wife Sam, club vice-president Don McClardy, CEO Cameron Schwab, as well as various Melbourne players.
McClardy will take up Stynes’ duties while he is undergoing a programme of recovery.
Former Melbourne president Joe Gutnick said that Stynes plays an integral role at the club.
He is an integral part of the footy programme, especially in the most recent period of time, he said.
He has got a way with everybody and is able to unite everybody, so he is going to be sorely missed at the club.
Stynes began his AFL career as an 18-year-old rookie, recruited from Ballyboden St Endas back in 1980, having had no previous knowledge of the game.
He went on to play 264 games with Melbourne, including a 244-game unbroken run and won the 1991 Brownlow Medal - the Aussie Rules’ equivalent of the Footballer of the Year award here in Ireland.
Stynes became President of the Melbourne Demons in 2008. Outside of the club he was named as Victorian of the Year in 2001 and 2003, for his work with his own charity, the Reach Foundation, a group committed to helping teenagers at risk of suicide or depression.