Yeray Has Learned A Lot From His Battle With Cancer

Nearly two years ago the stunning news was announced that Athletic Club defender Yeray had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. He underwent surgery in December of 2016 and made his returned just two months later. There was always a concern of a relapse which was discovered last summer and required chemotherapy treatments. The Lezama product beat the disease for a second time and has since returned to regular action and doesn’t seem to have missed a step. The 23-year-old recently conducted an interview with O11CE Metros where he opened up about his battle and the support he received.

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Yeray training at San Mamés after returning from chemotherapy sessions (Mundo Deportivo)

“The first time I got the news was the most shocking because I couldn’t believe that I was sick, but it was a cancer that has a high percentage of curing. I knew that there could be a relapse and that is what happened. I already made up my mind that I was going to fight and it was much better because I am still young. For me, maybe it was somewhat easier because of how I take things and how I face things. I wouldn’t use the word “fear” with cancer, but I would say that I respect cancer. I wasn’t afraid because the doctors were always optimistic and I was surrounded by people who were convinced that I would be healed. ”

Yeray admitted that it was easier to face the disease because his doctors continued to assure him that there was a very high chance of recovery. Still, actually undergoing the treatments was difficult to bare because the chemotherapy sessions made him extremely tired and nauseous. He hopes that his experience can be an example for anyone else who is going through a similar battle with cancer.

“From the moment I received the diagnosis, even though it was bad news, the doctors were already telling me that the expectations were good. It is a hard time and many things come to mind, but I have always been a calm person and I have relied heavily on my family and friends. The worst was the hours inside the clinic and the week after treatments with the symptoms and the tiredness. Before you don’t realize how many people support and encourage you, even those who have gone through the same thing. From tasting food without nausea to being with friends and on the field, I appreciate it all much more now. I hope that this can be an example for everyone and I want people to know that they can beat this. This disease has helped me grow a lot.”

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Yeray has come back just as strong as ever (Marca)

In closing, Yeray admitted that facing cancer has changed it a lot. He really learned to appreciate the little things in life and is eternally grateful for the thousands of messages of support that he received during his treatment and recovery. He said that seeing his teammates all shave their heads in support is something that he will cherish for the rest of his life and only goes to show that Athletic is very much a family.

“The disease changes you a lot. I set aside football and many other things, and I focused on living in the moment with the people that I love and with my family. The disease has been a great time of learning for me. I am grateful for the support I received from everywhere, not just from the world of football. It has been incredible and I am overwhelmed. I have been very grateful in this situation and I’ve received thousands of messages of support. It is almost impossible to read them all. When my teammates all shaved their heads in support it was a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. It wasn’t an easy gesture, but it was big because they are the best. That is why I will always say that this is not just any team, we are a great family.”

Since returning to the pitch Yeray has performed as well as ever, but it was a long and grueling road to recovery. When he was diagnosed the first time he only underwent surgery to remove the tumor, but without chemotherapy he knew that there could be a relapse. Now that he has undergone the treatments it will hopefully be the end of his battle against cancer. The 23-year-old will be forever changed this experience and he is now ready to move forward with his life and career.