Watch as Ben Cunnington marks returns to the AFL from cancer battle with emotional family moment
Chemotherapy left Ben Cunnington so sick and weak he may barely get off the bed, not to mention go to the bathroom with out collapsing.
Studying how to stroll once more made him realise he was at “rock bottom”.
And on Saturday, as he led North Melbourne out of the Adelaide Oval race for his AFL comeback, the uncommon sight of his spouse Belinda in tears gave Cunnington a brand new appreciation for his journey over the previous 18 months – watch in the video above.
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Cunnington overcame two bouts of testicular cancer to return to the area after almost 400 days away, an vital milestone to obtain earlier than the finish of the season.
However this was not simply his moment.
The 31-year-old began chemo simply days after his spouse gave delivery to their third baby, and it was a quick pre-game embrace with Belinda on Saturday that set off all the feelings another time.
“She’s been a rock, been there for every bit of it. I obviously couldn’t have got back without her,” he informed Fox Sports activities after the recreation.
“She’s cried about two or three times in our whole life and to see her in tears, it wasn’t the best prep.
“But it was good just to take it all in and appreciate where we’ve been.”
Belinda celebrated Cunnington’s return by way of the VFL final week with a heartfelt Instagram publish.
“Proud is an understatement! All the hurdles, challenges and setbacks you have faced in the last few years but in true Ben fashion you keep moving forward without complaining,” she wrote.
“A few months ago you couldn’t even pull up the blinds without fainting, now look at you – such an inspiration!
“We love you so much and we will always be by your side through the ups, downs and in between. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Cunnington has been in the highlight greater than he would have favored due to his cancer battle.
However with the partitions weakened by the enormity of the event, the midfielder opened up on the bodily value of preventing the illness and the motivation to get again this yr.
“Even during the treatment, I could barely get out of bed and go to the toilet without collapsing or feeling crook, you name it,” Cunnington mentioned on Saturday.
“First month was just walking, learning pretty much how to walk again. Getting the strength and the (kilometres) under the legs. Started from rock bottom.
“There was a few hiccups. Definitely questioned me, when I got back. Just because the time was ticking, I felt I really worked hard enough to get back this year.
“I didn’t want to carry it into the off-season. Because I feel if I can just tick it off and go into the off-season being normal I feel I can still play some good footy next year. But there were definitely times I did feel I was in a bit of trouble.”
North led at half-time over Adelaide and have been stage at three-quarter time earlier than the Crows received behind a five-goals-to-zero remaining time period.
The consequence couldn’t have mattered much less to Cunnington, who conceded he had questioned – prior to his cancer prognosis – how for much longer he would final in the AFL.
“I suppose you get a bit complacent, or you think you might be done with the game,” he mentioned.
“But until it gets taken away, you quickly realise how much you do love it and to get another opportunity at playing, I couldn’t be more appreciative and grateful.
“Even though we lost I still can’t stop smiling and just trying to appreciate it right now.”
Kangaroos interim coach Leigh Adams mentioned he hoped Cunnington’s return may gas the rebuilding crew into the pre-season.
“The emotional lift it gave our group at this time of year was fantastic,” Adams mentioned.
“He had a tear in his eye when he put his jumper back on today.
“For our young blokes to see what it means to play for this footy club, hopefully has a lasting impression to this group.”