Referee and Cancer Survivor Gary Parsons Shares Inspiring Chat with Bournemouth’s David Brooks..

Referee Gary Parsons and Bournemouth player David Brooks bonded over shared experiences during a chance meeting after last week’s youth team game. Both men have overcome cancer, with Parsons having been diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2020 and given less than a 50% chance of surviving.

Despite going through “nine months of hell” with chemotherapy, which caused him to have a suspected heart attack and suffer from his mental health, Parsons returned to refereeing within a year of his diagnosis and is now officiating National League and Premier League 2 games.

Brooks, which is in remission from stage two Hodgkin lymphoma, made his Premier League return earlier this year and scored a hat-trick in the Hampshire Cup game against Portsmouth. The 25-year-old spoke with Parsons after the game, and the two men talked for about half an hour about their experiences with cancer.

Parsons explained that speaking with someone who has been through a similar experience is easier and that he is willing to help Brooks in any way he can. He also recalled his difficulty explaining to his two young sons that he might not be there and his negative thoughts about survival.

Despite the challenges, Parsons was determined to return to refereeing and achieved his goal of refereeing a game of football before the end of the 2020-21 season, taking charge of Working against Wealdstone.

He is now in his second full season back at Step One level and aims to become a referee in the English Football League. Parsons’ story is one of determination and resilience in adversity. His experience with cancer and subsequent return to refereeing demonstrates the importance of goals and a support system when facing a life-threatening illness.

It also shows that recovery is possible, even when the odds seem stacked against us. Brooks’ story is also one of courage and perseverance. His battle with Hodgkin lymphoma came at a young age and interrupted his promising football career, but he has returned stronger and is now making his mark on the sport again. His hat trick against Portsmouth is a testament to his skill and determination.

The meeting between Parsons and Brooks highlights the power of shared experiences and the importance of having someone to talk to who understands what we are going through. Both men have faced significant challenges but have emerged from their struggles with a renewed sense of purpose and determination.

Their stories also underscore the importance of cancer research and treatment. Without advances in medical technology and knowledge, both men might not have survived their illnesses. As we continue to support cancer research and treatment, we can help ensure that more people have the opportunity to overcome this devastating disease.

In the end, Parsons and Brooks’ meeting serves as a reminder that life is full of unexpected twists and turns and that we never know what challenges we might face. But with determination, resilience, and a support system, we can overcome even the most daunting obstacles and emerge stronger on the other side.

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