Jim defying the odds in brave cancer fight

JIM STYNES has taken a major step towards making what seemed an improbable recovery from cancer by having his last brain tumour removed in Melbourne.

AFL legend Stynes, who was told that he had just nine months to live when the cancer was discovered in July 2009, went under the knife on Thursday knowing he could wake up blind from the latest procedure — but the44-year-old’s sight remains intact.

It was the former All-Ireland minor football-winning Dubliner’s fifth operation in 12 months, and second in eight days, that led to the removal of all 22 tumours detected on his brain and in his stomach.

Neurosurgeon Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld marvelled at the tremendous courage and strength of the Melbourne Demons president.

“This was (operation) number five, so he has been through a lot,” Professor Rosenfeld said. “But he has come through it well and is in good spirits.

“We only did the other operation a week ago so certainly this is a man with great powers of recovery.

“I don’t think he will be dancing with Olivia Newton-John in the short-term but hopefully he will be back to that.

“(Cancer) is still an issue, but we will see how it develops. We’ll have to wait and see. He’s out of the woods for the moment but this is the sort of cancer that can rear its head again.

“He’s very strong-spirited and is fighting this cancer with all he’s got. Jim is a hero to a lot of cancer sufferers. He is a great role model because he never gives up.”

Stynes’ wife, Sam, delivered a similar message.

“It’s all a bit overwhelming to be honest,” she admitted when considering the possibility for the first time that her husband might make a full recovery.

“I’m in awe of his fighting spirit through this consistent surgery and pain. Truly, sometimes I think, ‘what a champion’.”

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