Cricketer Tom Manthey.
Cricketer Tom Manthey. Craig Warhurst

Teen first player picked for All Stars

TEENAGE cricketer Tom Manthey feels honoured to be the first player selected for the Gympie All Stars XI to play in the Pink Stumps Day fundraiser match next weekend.

The Gympie All-stars XI will be matched up against a Gympie Devils All-stars XI in a Twenty20 clash to help raise money for the McGrath Foundation and breast care nurses around Australia.

The charity is one Manthey is proud to help.

He has experienced how breast cancer affects families and knows the strength needed to fight the disease.

Manthey's mother, Rolly Wood, has just won her battle against breast cancer.

She will present the players of both teams with their pink caps at the start of the charity match next Saturday.

Rolly was diagnosed with cancer in December 2010.

As a former nurse she knew what to expect from breast cancer.

She said that in some ways her knowledge made the diagnosis more frightening.

"I think it is worse because you potentially know how bad it can be," Rolly said.

To make matters even more emotional for the family, Rolly's mother had died of bowel cancer just seven months before her diagnosis.

Manthey and his sister Tasma witnessed their mother's fight against the disease.

They watched as she recovered from surgery in January 2011 followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

She had her last radiation treatment in August 2011.

Manthey said the worst part of the fight was watching his mum deal with the after effects of chemotherapy.

At the time Rolly was bedridden and could only get out to go to the toilet and shower.

"It was pretty hard seeing her like that," Manthey said.

That's why Manthey is so chuffed to be the first Gympie player picked for the side.

"I feel like privileged to play and help raise money to help more people like Mum," Manthey said.

The McGrath Foundation raises money to help employ breast care nurses in hospitals.

Gympie's breast care nurse Sharon Shelford who was one of Rolly's first points of contact after being diagnosed.

"I couldn't have gone through it without her," Rolly said.

"Sharon talked me through the initial diagnosis and surgery and then continued to keep in touch throughout the course of my treatment.

"She had advice on everything from keeping comfortable after surgery, exercises, breast prosthetics, chemotherapy, radiation and drug therapy.

"There was never a question she couldn't answer, and it was always a relief and comfort to have her on the other end of the phone."

Rolly said Sharon called her a couple of times after her chemotherapy.

"I was feeling so sick and tired and I would say to her 'That's it, I'm not having any more of that'.

"I would have a cry and she would have kind, sympathetic words that would make me feel better."

For Rolly, breast cancer seems like a distant memory now but she is excited about being involved in the Twenty20 match and urges as many people as possible to get down to the game this Saturday at 6.45pm.

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