By Matt Fotia
Yesterday’s announcement that the EFNL senior season had been cancelled is nowhere near the worst news the folks at Schramms Reserve have had in the last 48 hours, after the club received news that senior player and crowd favourite Marcus Alessi had been diagnosed with multiple lymphomas on the brain.
Second year coach Stewart Kemperman said the shocking news had put the cancellation of season 2020 right on the back-burner for the Doncaster Sharks family.
“It gives you a bit of perspective on it all (the season).”
Kemperman said that the usually effervescent Alessi had been feeling a bit sluggish since the Christmas training break, something that contrasted heavily with his usual outgoing and energetic manner.
Alessi, who has played 52 senior games for the Sharks, decided to begin seeking medical advice to identify the problem.
“He’s such a likeable person and he’s got an infectious personality to the point that when he’s at training or when he’s around the place it’s a much happier or much more vibrant environment when he’s not there,”
“He’d been a bit off, not feeling well and been quite lethargic for the last few months (of pre-season) and it was really starting to impact him as a young man,”
“So over the next period he’s been getting a bit of testing and been going to see specialists and doctors of all sorts to try and work out what’s been going on.”
Alessi’s last two weeks have seen him in and out of hospital for testing and his vigilant approach has helped, as it seems like he has gotten on top of the illness early.
He will begin a gruelling chemotherapy schedule as soon as possible, which will see him in hospital for five days and out for the next 16, on repeat for the next few months.
Kemperman spoke to Alessi today and says that whilst he is understandably shocked and frightened, he is ready for the battle ahead and thankful for all the support he’s already received.
“He’s a bit fearful and worried as you would be, but he’s thankful for all the support he’s already receiving from the guys at the club, his friends and family,”
“The hard work starts now, his big game for 2020 is beating this.”
The club have already started putting the foundations in to help Alessi and his family as much as possible, setting up a gofundme page to help with medical costs and are in the process of planning social functions to raise funds in a similar vain once government restrictions permit them to do so.
Kemperman is also sure that Alessi’s fellow Sharks will be lining up to shave their locks in a show of solitude, something Kemperman thinks Alessi is dreading a little bit more than most.
“When restrictions ease further, we’ll look at hosting some social functions to raise some more money for Marcus and his family and probably shave a few heads along the way as well,”
It is with a heavy heart we would like to share that one of our own has recently been given an unfortunate…
“He (Marcus) is one that’s fond of his hair!”