By Amelia Burr
Wimbledon tennis star Ross Hutchins is turning his battle against cancer into a positive and has enlisted a little help from his friends to raise much-needed funds.
The 27-year-old, diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in December, will be taking over finals day at the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club to hold his Rally Against Cancer event.
Hutchins, who was the world number 28 doubles player before chemotherapy treatment brought a temporary halt to his career, is hoping to raise £10,000 for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity (RMCC).
The RMCC has been treating Hutchins for the past two months and will continue to support him through four more months of chemotherapy.
He said: “I want to give something back to the people at Royal Marsden Cancer Charity for the support they give to sick people and their families.
“It is an unbelievable place that helps thousands of people in situations similar to mine.
“I’d had the idea of running a tennis event, and was approached by Chris Kermode (the Aegon Championship tournament director) and the team at the LTA, who suggested doing something after the final at the Queen’s Club. I thought it was a great idea.”
Rally Against Cancer will feature a doubles match, with Andy Murray and Tim Henman playing other professionals, followed by some celebrity doubles teams facing up to the famous Brits.
The day will finish with an auction on centre court.
Hutchins said: “I asked Andy, and straight away he said he was up for it, that he would love to play for the charity. And Tim has said he will play too, which is fantastic.
“It’s going to be a really great day and for a charity that helps a lot of people and, obviously, one that means a lot to me.”
Murray and Henman will also be helping out with the auction, that will offer bidders signed memorabilia and behind-the-scenes access to sporting venues.
Meanwhile, away from the public gaze, Hutchins has been keeping himself busy with this event during his recovery.
He said: “It’s very important to keep busy and I also wanted to give back to Royal Marsden. That’s what I’m doing this for.
“I needed something to replace tennis in my life that involved people in the tennis world.”
Having completed two out of six chemotherapy cycles, side effects have included headaches, fatigue and aching muscles, but Hutchins thinks he got off lightly.
He said: “I am very fortunate that it hasn’t been as bad as I’ve heard it can be. It maybe helps that I was in decent shape beforehand so I can maybe handle the drugs a bit better.”
To donate to Rally Against Cancer, go to justgiving.com/ralleighagainstcancer2013.
The fundraising total has reached £1,600 and more money will be raised when ticket holders for the Queen’s tournament finals day will be asked to pay an additional £10 for the two-and-a-half hours of celebrity-filled entertainment that will follow the men’s singles finals.