As we all know, the Mannah family, in particular Jon Mannah, a former Shark and Eel, has had a tumultuous career so far, due to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Mannah has contracted the form of cancer not once, but twice – but in true fighting spirit and sheer determination to play again, Jon Mannah has not ruled out the possibility of playing NRL footy once more.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve given up, no – definitely not,” Mannah said.
“I’m uncertain about it and I don’t know if it will happen again. But I won’t be giving up on it any time soon.”
One thing is for sure. The Parramatta forward is not giving up in his battle against cancer. ”I know I’m going to get through this,” he said.
Mannah, aged just 22, has had no luck with the Lymphoma, as he goes into his second of three bouts, of chemotherapy – but in news that will cheer he and his family up, a revolutionary stem cell transplant is possible, thanks to Jon’s brother Tim.
“It is a biggish procedure, but that will get rid of it for good,” Mannah said.
“I will go into hospital for a week long chemotherapy. It is quite intense, and it will be enough to bring me down a bit and kill of my immune system”.
“The fact I have a brother who matches is pretty cool, people struggle to find themselves a donor. He will give the stem cells straight out of him, straight into me, after that chemotherapy for a week. Then I will try to grow his immune system in my body. It will be pretty full on with the side effects from that. I have just got to take it easy for the next six months after that. Hopefully it will be successful”.
Although now Jon looks fit and at his normal weight, there was a time where Mannah was just 87kg, a whopping 20 kilograms below his usual playing weight.
Although the on-field and off-field tensions at the Eels have been high, hearing of Mannah’s struggle with cancer, and his sheer determination to fight it, puts things into perspective.
“It has been [an ordeal], but I have been alright with it mentally,” Mannah said.
“That does not say anything about me, but the people around me. I will come out the other end. It just a matter of putting up with the procedures and whatnot”.
As Mannah struggles to watch the game he loves from the sideline – his goal in NRL footy, to play alongside his brother, has been put on hold once more.
“Like any injured player, I hate watching from the sidelines,” he said.
“You cannot really do anything about it and it is frustrating at times, not being able to help out and do your part on the footy field. That is part of football, part of life in general. I just have to learn how to deal with it, and to my part when I can.”
Mannah has received messages of support in bucketloads, from players, officials and fans, and combined with the tight-knit family that is the Mannah troupe, it has lifted the spirits of Mannah immensely.
“My family has been number one in all of this, God has given me the family to lean on when I need to,” he said.
“They have been unreal. The fans have been really good, and the club has been good, letting me do my bit when I feel up to it, and catch up with the boys and do promos. My brother tells me that people are always asking how I am doing when he is out. I am grateful for the network of support I have got”.