BOMADERRY FC’s Nathan Aldridge, who has endured countless battles on the pitch, is preparing for the biggest fight of his life, after recently being diagnosed with vocal cord cancer.
After turning around the Tigers, Aldridge guided the club to back-to-back Shoalhaven Football grand finals – including winning the Bolden Blackmore Shield in 2017 – he has decided to stand down from the post, to concentrate on his recovery.
“Haley [his wife] and I have stepped away from Bomaderry FC this year – we both have put a lot of time and effort to bring success to our club in the last few year, which has seen us develop some great friendships,” Aldridge said.
Not long after Aldridge guided Shoalhaven to their first ever Southern NSW Branch title, the 39-year-old was first diagnosed in December.
“I had a sore throat and my voice was getting worse, so I went to my general practitioner,” Aldridge said.
“He didn't seem to concerned, thinking it was just viral infection.
“But a few days later, I went back in and they conducted a number of blood tests and chest x-ray but they all came back clear.
“Despite this, we insisted on seeing an ear neck throat specialist.
“When we eventually did meet with the specialist, he did a CT [Computed Tomography] and MRI of my throat and found a lump.
“The very next day, I went in for an operation and biopsy – the results confirmed it was vocal cord cancer.”
While they were devastated with the news, at least Aldridge and his family finally knew what was wrong, so they could start to treat it.
“After the diagnosis, we saw a head and neck professor at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, where he diagnosed the cancer as stage two.
“He recommended radiation for five days of the week, for seven weeks.
“From there, I was also referred to a radiation oncologist at Shoalhaven Cancer Clinic – where I did a PET [Positron Emission Tomography] scan that showed the cancer on the vocal cord and one lymph node, which was also confirmed by a biopsy at Wollongong Hospital.”
During this time, the cancer grew from stage two to stage four, forcing Aldridge to go through radiation and high doses of chemotherapy.
Despite all this, Aldridge is still in a positive frame of mind and has a message for all fellow men out there.
“As most men don't like going to the doctor, it is important we all keep up with our health checks as you just don't think these things will happen to you,” he said.
“I personally thought I was going okay but I could have been doing more, that could of lowered the risk of getting this horrible disease.
“At the end of the day, you just don't now what the future holds, so make the most of everyday, be happy, stay healthy and be positive.”
During all this, Aldridge’s friends and families have gone over the top with their support, so much so they have set up a go fund me page.
“Thankfully, we have had great support from family and great friends, who decided to set up a go fund me page, to help me and the girls get through this difficult time,” he said.
“Personally, I wasn't sure about doing it but I didn't really have a say.
“I'd like to thank everyone for what they have done for us – your support has been amazing.”
If you’d like to support Aldridge on his road to recovery, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/nathan-chemo-treatment?member=1621846&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=fb_co_campmgmt_m&fbclid=IwAR28IQsYS5aZK8uS1RNK_sc15b57uaB9nFvL7AQD3PuSdehg8bK_CvXGsxY