ONE of Barnsley Football Club’s most exciting prospects has thanked doctors who saved his life - after ‘miraculous’ progression saw cancerous tumours almost disappear within six weeks.
Bayley Hassell, 18, has been part of the Oakwell academy since 2016 and is one of the most highly thought-of midfielders at the club.
But his footballing career came to a standstill in March when he collapsed in his Dodworth home and was taken to hospital where he was later diagnosed with a rare form of cancer - T-cell lymphoma.
Bayley, whose dad is Reds legend Bobby, said: “I was diagnosed on March 6 after rushing into the bathroom and collapsing - I don’t remember anything after that for a bit.
“I went into the hospital and I was told that I had large tumours - one was around my chest and so they said that was the reason I collapsed because it was stopping the blood flow to my brain.
“I was shocked - I’d just had one of my best games in my career against Hull City while I had cancer so it just shows how quickly things change, it was such an eye-opener.
“The doctors really saved my life with what they did - they said if I had left it another two or three days I would have died in my sleep.
“The nurses made me feel like I was at home and the doctors told me everything straight and I really liked that they did that - I can’t thank them enough.”
Following the heartbreaking news, Bayley was placed on a two-year chemotherapy programme - but before his treatment even started his tumours had reduced by 35 per cent.
Around six weeks after his diagnosis, Bayley was sent in for a scan and the doctor described what he saw as ‘miraculous’.
“After about five weeks of treatment I went in for a CT scan and I was told that the doctor had never seen anything like it - he said it was miraculous,” he added.
“He said that he’d never seen the tumours disappear like that before.
“And since then I’ve been going through the rest of my treatment - my last term of treatment starts on Monday and then I stop the intense programme.
“It was a real shock for me - at the time I’d just finished my induction phase and came out of hospital so I wasn’t expecting it.
“The tumours had shrunk and in a sense they had gone.
“My dad was over the moon and he really showed it - I’m not one to show it but it was such a relief.
“I’m hopefully looking forward to a sense of normality now - but I can’t be told that I’m cancer-free until two or three years down the line when I’ve finished my treatment, but it’s definitely really good progression.”
When Bayley was originally diagnosed the footballing world came out to show their support, with the Barnsley team donning jackets saying ‘Keep Fighting Bayley’ and some of the game’s top stars sending him video messages.
But it wasn’t just the support of famous footballers that helped Bayley, it’s the public who have still been sending him messages of support three months on - and he wants everyone to be aware of the symptoms.
“It was really nice to get video messages from people like Steven Gerrard and to be able to FaceTime John Stones,” he added.
“Growing up you idolise people like Gerrard and as a midfielder myself it was really special. It’s always really nice to get support and there was a lot of it - I’m still getting messages two or three months down the line which is great.
“I want to thank everyone for their support and kind words and I’d urge everyone to not ignore their symptoms.”
Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central, added: “It is fantastic and hugely heartening to hear the good news about Bayley.
“I know that the whole of Barnsley FC and the wider town have been behind Bayley throughout his treatment, and we’re all delighted with this positive news.”