Incredibly sad news this week that England rugby and Superstars legend Andy Ripley is once again engaged in a battle with cancer after having seemingly beaten it a couple of years ago.
Two years back I read Ripley's account of his first attempts to beat prostate cancer and wrote about it on this blog. It was a fascinating and uplifting read which ended on a positive note with the disease apparently licked.
Sadly, however, the cancer seems to be back with a vengeance. When Ripley was first diagnosed his PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test revealed an off-the-scale score of 133 nanograms per millilitre (when anything over 3.5 for a man of his age would have been an indication of cancer). In April 2007 the score was down to 0.1 ng/ml. Last spring his PSA was at 1,696 ng/ml, and secondary tumours have now spread to his ankles and now his brain, pressure on his optic nerve causing him to lose his sight two weeks ago.
Ripley is, as ever, stoic in the face of such further adversity.
"The reality is I'm 62, I've had a blinding life and had more than my share. I'm strong and the family's strong," he told the Telegraph last week.
This is going to sound lame, but I can only wish him all the best of luck in his continuing battle - long may he keep the Grim Reaper at bay.