A YOUNG man who was diagnosed with a non-cancerous tumour bigger than a tennis ball has met his sporting hero.
Emyr Hughes, 21, of Cefn Mawr, had the thrill of shaking hands and saying hello to Wayne Rooney at the opening of the £12 million palatine treatment centre of The Christie hospital in Manchester.
Emyr had his picture taken with the Manchester United striker and his midfield team-mate Juan Mata.
“I was delighted. I am a Manchester United fan and Wayne Rooney is one of my favourite players,” said Emyr, a former pupil of Ysgol Morgan Llwyd.
And as well as meeting the Old Trafford duo at the opening of the new centre, there was a further treat in store.
It had been arranged for Emyr to visit Manchester United’s Carrington training centre to see the squad being put through their paces.
As part of the visit he was welcomed by Wales legend Ryan Giggs, now United’s interim team manager, and former England centre-half Rio Ferdinand.
Emyr said he was thrilled to visit the training base and thanked everyone involved for making it possible.
He makes regular visits to the Christie for treatment for a rare condition called neurofibromatosis type 2, which causes non-cancerous tumours to grow along the nerves.
It was diagnosed when Emyr was 16; because he kept bumping into things he went for an eye test which discovered a massive tumour on his optic nerve.
“I was told it was bigger than a tennis ball. I had an operation at Walton Hospital in Liverpool.
“They cut my head open to get access to the tumour. I lost the sight in my right eye. The tumour was too big to take out completely.”
He had a further operation aged 18 to take out loose pieces of tumour. The rest of it was stuck to his optic nerve and the decision was made to leave it.
Now Emyr attends hospital for treatment similar to chemotherapy which attacks the tumour and helps to shrink it.
“The doctors are very pleased with the progress I am making.
“I would like to thank everyone at The Christie for all their work to help me,” he added.