A NEWPORT rugby player who was diagnosed with a rare cancer days before his 21st birthday has spoken of how the rugby community rallied around him.

Luc Slocombe was diagnosed with chondroblastic osteosarcoma of the nasal cavity last year.

The 21-year-old, who plays second row for St Julians High School Old Boys RFC, has played for the club for 13 years.

“Rugby has always been a massive part of my life," he said.

"When I was diagnosed with cancer, people from all over Newport and the rugby community messaged me and asked me if I was OK or if I needed anything.

South Wales Argus:

Luc Slocombe in action with St Julians St Julians High School Old Boys RFC

“The rugby community is just a fabulous one in Wales – everyone is willing to help.

“Teenage Cancer Trust and Young Lives vs Cancer have played a tremendous role in helping me through this battle, they truly are guardian angels.”

Mr Slocombe was diagnosed with cancer in January last year. What doctors thought was an infection turned out to be a tumour in his nose.

The doctor told him the position of the cancer was so rare it is only seen once every four years.

“The hardest part wasn’t being told it was cancer, it was when they sent me to discuss my chemotherapy plan for treatment," he said.

“My girlfriend has been amazing, we’ve been together since we were teenagers and for seven years. She shouldn’t have had to deal with this.”

Diagnosed during the pandemic, Mr Slocombe went to most of his treatment on his own.

He said: “I didn’t have many visitors; you were only allowed to designate two people. I was in hospital for five days at a time. It broke me.

“The chemotherapy I had was possibly the worst thing I have ever experienced, mentally and physically.”

Following his chemotherapy, Mr Slocombe had surgery in London, which was a success.

South Wales Argus:

Luc Slocombe during his treatment

A Young Lives vs Cancer social worker, Jude, supported Mr Slocombe and his family. Young Lives vs Cancer is the UK’s leading charity for children and young people living with cancer and their families.

Mr Slocombe said: “Jude, she has been immense, I can’t speak highly enough of her, if I needed anything she would be on it.

"She arranged for my mum and girlfriend to stay at Young Lives vs Cancer’s Home from Home, Paul’s House, in London. It meant they were close by.”

A year on from his diagnosis and he is now back at the gym, building up his strength and playing rugby – a huge part of his life.

Now, he has organised a family day - at St Julian’s Rugby Club grounds in Newport on Saturday, April 30 from 2.30pm - to raise awareness.

The event will raise money for Young Lives vs Cancer and Teenage Cancer Trust, two charities who supported Mr Slocombe throughout his treatment and who are close to his heart.

Within 24 hours of setting up his fundraising page, he had raised £5,000.

Mr Slocombe said: “I’ve arranged a big day event with a rugby tournament.

"It’s just going to be about having a good time. It’s a live music event with a raffle and food, people can help by donating anything they can.

"The aim is to raise as much as possible.

“I’m blown away by the amount of support I’ve had about it. 

“I just want to say how incredible my family and friends are, I could not have done it without them. Without all of them and they know who they are, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I’ve done.”

Cerys Sadler, Young Lives vs Cancer Fundraising Engagement Manager for Wales, said: “What Luc has achieved is incredible. He has been so inspiring and I’ve been in awe of his positivity and energy.”