PLAYERS from Dursley Rugby Club are rallying behind a popular and long-time coach after she was diagnosed with cancer.

For more than 23 years, Nadine Thomas has inspired and helped hundreds of children to learn to play the sport as a mini and youth coach. 

The mother-of-two, who is also vice president of the club, was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer. 

A fundraising campaign has now been launched in honour of Nadine, which was announced by former Gloucester and England player Ben Morgan at the club’s recent 70th birthday event. 

Before her diagnosis, Nadine knew very little about the aggressive cancer making it even more daunting and devastating. 

But while receiving treatment, she said she has found support from Gloucestershire’s Myeloma Support Group based at the Maggie’s Centre in Cheltenham and MyelomaUK. 

Nadine said: “The support I’ve received from the NHS, MyelomaUK and Maggie's Centre in Cheltenham has been fantastic. 

“Who would have thought that a visit to the doctors for a bad back would result in this. 

Gazette Series: Nadine Thomas and her husband Rob with Ben Morgan unveiling a plaque for MyelomaUK at Dursley Rugby Club Nadine Thomas and her husband Rob with Ben Morgan unveiling a plaque for MyelomaUK at Dursley Rugby Club (Image: Dursley Rugby Club)

“Some earlier blood tests revealed I was extremely anaemic, this is one of the typical signs of Myeloma. 

“However, other symptoms such as fatigue, back pain, increased levels of calcium (determined by blood test) and general bone pain can also be attributed to many illnesses so Myeloma can be difficult to diagnose even for GPs. 

“I was lucky, my back pain made my GP look further and take more blood tests resulting in my diagnosis and swift treatment programme. 

“It’s important if you don’t feel things are right that you do something about it.”

Dursley RFC chair Phil Sprague said: “When we heard about Nadine’s diagnosis there was no doubt that we would make this our charity focus for this year.  

“Many of our most senior players were introduced to rugby by Nadine and she has also played a key part in organising our annual fundraising ball over many years. 

“Nadine and her husband Rob, along with sons Simon and Stephen have been a big part of our club and community for many years and we want to show our love and support for them all."

A number of events organised by Dursley Rugby Club are expected to run throughout the year in support of Myeloma UK. 

You can view the club’s JustGiving page here -