Simone Rowles took it upon herself in November to go for an unprompted breast check; she had not noticed anything different or felt off but had a day off work and thought it wise to be checked.
Her son, Mariners defender Kye, was on Olyroos camp at the time as they faced Macarthur and Sydney FC and chose to wait until he had finished national duties to deliver the news.
“She found out when we were on camp with the Olyroos, but she didn’t want to tell me when I was down there,” Kye said this week ahead of Monday’s Pink Round match.
“She just rang me, and she was in tears, and then I started crying as well. The same as Jake [Kye’s older brother], we were just rattled.
“She didn’t even really feel anything. That is how she found out, just went and got a check like it was any other day.”
For Kye, Jake and younger brother Zane, Simone is ‘as good a Mum as you could want’ and has been a Gold Coast Real Estate agent for as long as the 24-year old defender can remember.
A doting mother who did everything for her children as they grew up, Simone picked Kye up from school and drove him to training, often an hour away when he graduated into the Queensland Academy of Sport at Mount Gravatt, with Father Paul at work everyday.
“She’s pretty much just one of the nicest people going around, super caring, almost a little too much, a real softie,” Rowles laughed.
“She’s super nice, thinks she’s funny, sometimes she is funny I guess.”
The diagnosis of his loving Mum with Breast Cancer hit Rowles like a freight train on the eve of the A-League season, but with six rounds of chemotherapy now complete and two more to go, Simone is soldiering through.
The youngster kept to himself initially and trained and played in a manner which belied the news he was carrying, before speaking to Alen Stajcic and the leadership group which he is a part of, and visiting his Mum after the recent A-League trip to Adelaide.
“When you hear those words you think the worst straight away,” he said.
“She’s going alright now, so fingers crossed it keeps getting better. I kept it to myself, I told my partner, and I knew that if people found out they would help me because the support network around here is the best, but I didn’t feel like I wanted to share.”
“[After a while] I spoke to Staj, Simmo, Ollie and those boys and they’ve been really good so far, Pearcey too has been a big help for me once he knew."
“It was a bit different [to see her]. When you go through Chemo you have no hair, so it was different seeing her like, but she is still my Mum. She seems to be going alright, not too tired or anything at the moment.”
When the Club celebrates the ninth annual Pink Round on Monday, more than $10,000 will have already been raised by the Pink Appeal held this past Tuesday while the team played in Perth.
It adds to the more than $100,000 raised in previous years by the Mariners, and Rowles said that while he always viewed the round as an important cause, it feels even more so now with a deeply personal connection.
“I think it’s great,” he said.
“I’ve always thought that this was a positive thing to do, it’s a great initiative from the Club to help spread awareness and raise funds to put towards Breast Cancer, and I already thought that before it became personal.”
“Now that it is personal it just means that much more, and you start to understand how much this one round means for the people who are impacted by it.”
With Simone a chance to make it to Central Coast Stadium for the game, Rowles said the feeling would be ‘something else’ and wants to use his platform and that of Pink Round to help raise awareness and encourage people to get themselves checked.
“It would be something else, really, I wouldn’t know how to explain it,” he said of running out in front of his Mum on Monday.
“She watches the games, loves it. I’m pretty sure she’s coming down, she said it [chemotherapy] is pretty rough, but you’ve just got to get it done, don’t you?”
“I would say if you haven’t had one [a check] recently then get one as soon as possible. Just for peace of mind more than anything, because if you are fine, you’re like ‘all sweet, it’s normal’, but if not, it could be early enough to do something about it.”
“My Mum got hers really early which has given her the best chance to get through it.”
“Which, it is a bad thing to happen, but because she got it so early, it’s a positive.”
"You do not want to wait until you start feeling sick because it might be too late.”