18/04/2024

Rebekah Stott's return to the pitch was a raging success on many counts. Image: @MelbourneCity. Twitter

Rebekah Stott completed her inspiring comeback from cancer last week for Melbourne City. Ahead of this week's derby, she has her sights set on higher honours

At just 27, one of New Zealand’s finest soccer players, Rebekah Stott had a lot to look forward to. She was halfway through an amazing career representing her club and country at the highest level and had a bright future ahead.

Then disaster struck in February when she felt a lump in the space just above her right collarbone. Initial tests were inconclusive.

Then the bulge grew so she went back for further checks. This time her worst fears would be confirmed. She was diagnosed with Stage three Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

However, determined to beat it and inspire others who have blood cancer, Stott embarked on and conquered her challenging journey of chemotherapy with an incredibly resilient positive mindset.

Currently playing for Melbourne City in the A-Leagues Women competition, the defender has been striving to get back to the player she was before her treatment.

While she showed glimpses of her best as she aims to get her fitness back fully and return back into the side, just getting on the field was a huge boost for her teammates.

She continues to face each obstacle with her endearing positive attitude and inspires so many people, both young and old, to persevere.

Stott also participated in the World’s Greatest Shave in March raising just under $40,000 for the Leukaemia Foundation in the process.

When asked about playing for New Zealand, Stott admitted it was hard missing out on playing with her Kiwi teammates earlier in the year.

“I was really gutted not to go to Korea but it was a bit too soon,” she said.

But now she is hoping she will be right and ready to go when the New Zealand Ferns play their next game in February.

Her goal now is to get back to full fitness and prove she can play a full 90 mins as she aims to break through back into her New Zealand national team.

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Not only was she determined to fight this illness, she also went about raising awareness for others. She created a blog that documented her challenging journey.

While she may have been forgiven for pitying in self-pity, she focused on the positives in every situation.

Stott is embracing her new attacking position up the field. She is keen and recognises that she “will grow and learn” with more time on the field.

“Being versatile is a really good attribute,” she said.

Stott made an impressive return to the field in her first professional game for Melbourne City since her diagnosis and remission last Friday inspiring her teammates to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Canberra United.

“It was incredible. It was so nice to be back on the field with the girls. I was a little bit disappointed in the way we played, in the first half especially but I was so thrilled to get back on the field. It was so fun.” she said.

By making her way back to the soccer field after her remission, Stott proved those diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma or any form of cancer can not only survive, they can also thrive.

Melbourne City’s next game is the Melbourne Derby against cross-town rival Melbourne Victory on Sunday 12th December at 4:05 pm at AAMI Park.

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