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Rugby squad’s tutu-lly new look to support teammate with cancer

Their tutu-lly new look is all in aid of Stand Up to Cancer and supporting Bully's cancer battle Picture: MARK HEWLETT PHOTOGRAPHY / STAND UP TO CANCER

Their tutu-lly new look is all in aid of Stand Up to Cancer and supporting Bully's cancer battle Picture: MARK HEWLETT PHOTOGRAPHY / STAND UP TO CANCER

MARK HEWLETT PHOTOGRAPHY / STAND UP TO CANCER

A campaigning rugby team slipped into a tutu-lly vibrant kit in a bid to crush cancer and save lives – in honour of teammate Bully.

Sporting orange tutus – the colour of the Stand Up to Cancer initiative – were members of Essex squad South Woodham Ferrers RUFC.

They are supporting and fundraising for the campaign for teammate David Bull, known as Bully, who is back training despite undergoing immunotherapy treatment.

The father-of-two was dealt a devastating blow when diagnosed with skin cancer last November.

Doctors told Mr Bull – who had noticed a lump under his arm and had started to feel unwell – that the illness had spread to his bones, ribs and spine.

Supportive teammates are giving their backing to the father-of-two Picture: MARK HEWLETT PHOTOGRAPHY / STAND UP TO CANCERSupportive teammates are giving their backing to the father-of-two Picture: MARK HEWLETT PHOTOGRAPHY / STAND UP TO CANCER

At first he thought it was an infection, but after two rounds of antibiotics he woke up one morning with a severe migraine.

His wife Hayley rushed him to Broomfield Hospital – and a lump the size of a tennis ball was removed and found to be cancerous.

Once his surgery wounds had healed, Mr Bull – who has two young children – started immunotherapy treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

“Immunotherapy should, in theory, get rid of my cancer altogether,” said Mr Bull.

Members of the squad showed off their new look Picture:  MARK HEWLETT PHOTOGRAPHY / STAND UP TO CANCERMembers of the squad showed off their new look Picture: MARK HEWLETT PHOTOGRAPHY / STAND UP TO CANCER

“It’s the best treatment – I haven’t really suffered.

“My joints ache and I have no saliva, but you wouldn’t even know I’d had cancer.”

Immunotherapy is one of the latest weapons in cancer treatment – it harnesses the power of the body’s own immune system to tackle the disease.

Mr Bull will continue immunotherapy treatment until January next year and while this means the 39-year-old cannot play rugby, he says getting back into training is helping him feel like his old self again.

The tutus are orange, the colour of the Stand Up to Cancer initiative Picture: MARK HEWLETT PHOTOGRAPHY / STAND UP TO CANCERThe tutus are orange, the colour of the Stand Up to Cancer initiative Picture: MARK HEWLETT PHOTOGRAPHY / STAND UP TO CANCER

His experience is driving his rugby team to support Stand Up to Cancer. Team captain Warren Duggan said: “I’ve been friends with Bully for about 17 years. He really took me under his wing when I started playing adult rugby and he has always been someone that me and the lads have looked up to. Bully’s diagnosis hit everyone at the club really hard but the way he has dealt with everything is incredible.”

To support the team and find out more, visit www.standuptocancer.org.uk

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