Former footballer wants help to do knee replacement surgery
Mario Spencer had aspirations of becoming an international footballer, but those dreams became unattainable when he was diagnosed with bone cancer in his left leg at age 16.
"I always wanted to play football overseas. That was my goal. I was playing Under-16 for the Harbour View Football Club. But the whole cancer ordeal kinda shifted that, and I had to refocus myself, and just continue the journey, play the cards that life dealt mi," he said.
"The cancer was a little bit below the knee. I did surgery to replace the affected area, half of the shin bone. It was replaced with the bone of a deceased donor."
But now, at 26 years old, Spencer said that the bone has started to deteriorate.
"Although I don't play ball anymore, I still walk, and that activity is causing the bone to slowly break away, and I feel a discomfort," he said.
He is hoping to do surgery to replace the deteriorating bone with a titanium knee. But this is costly.
"The bone is still there, but on the X-ray you can see that it has started to erode. It is deformed. So now I'm looking to replace the bone and put in a titanium knee component. I'd like to get it done September so that I can probably heal up for January, so I can go back to school. The cost is $1.5 million," he said.
In addition to creating a GoFundMe page to raise money for his surgery, Spencer said he would also be hosting a football tournament at his alma mater, St George's College, on August 10 to raise money for his surgery.
"I call it Survivor Cup 1.5. It's going to be in the form of a six-a-side football tournament, as well as FIFA tournament and free games for kids, and live performers," he said.
The third year entertainment and cultural enterprise management student at the University of the West Indies told THE STAR that more than anything, he wants to be able to enjoy life again.
"It would be like a second chance at life. Me fixing my knee, I probably won't get to play football professional, but I'll be able to move around freely again, and probably play for fun, and just get to live life again," he said.
Persons who are willing to assist Spencer can donate to his GoFundMePage at https://www.gofundme.com/f/mario039s-knee-replacement-surgery