Cancer affects everyone – Swansea keeper Carl Rushworth proud to help raise awareness
Carl Rushworth says it will be a proud moment to wear the names of grandparents Francis and Isobelle on his warm-up T-shirt as Swansea raise cancer awareness on Saturday.
Rushworth, the on-loan Brighton goalkeeper who was part of England’s Under-21 European Championship-winning squad last summer, lost two of his grandparents to cancer and Plymouth’s visit to South Wales carries special significance for the 22-year-old.
Swansea have joined with the charity Maggie’s for a ‘Tackling Cancer Together’ campaign and players will warm up ahead of the Sky Bet Championship clash with names of family and friends impacted by cancer printed on their shirts.
The English Football League has approved Swansea wearing the Maggie’s logo on the playing shirt as a one-off, while supporters have shared stories of a disease that now sees one in every two people diagnosed with it at some stage of their lives.
“Everybody knows somebody who’s been affected by cancer or someone who has sadly passed away because of it,” Rushworth told the PA news agency.
“Wearing the shirts and having names of loved ones on the back of them is massive for the players, and also for the fans in bringing the community together.
“It shows we’re all in the same boat and cancer affects everyone. I’ve seen fans telling their stories on social media and the Plymouth game will touch the hearts of the lads.”
Rushworth’s own story is a common tale of loss and tears that devastates families: his grandmother Isobelle died when he was a few months old, his grandfather Francis when he was 12.
“I was really close to my grandad, he was always around the house treating me and my sister when my mum and dad probably didn’t want him to,” said Rushworth.
“He was more into rugby but he was always there at the park when I was diving around the place. He probably pushed me into being a goalkeeper.
“He was a massive part in my upbringing and I was in shock really when he died. As I was growing up it hit me more that he wasn’t there.”
Rushworth has arguably been Swansea’s player of the season after previous loan spells away from the Seagulls at Worthing, Walsall and Lincoln.
Released by Huddersfield at the age of 15 – “it was tough because I felt like I was going to get a new contract and I was confused by that rejection” – Rushworth rebuilt his career at hometown club Halifax before joining Brighton in 2019.
He has since played over 100 games in the EFL, made his U21 international debut and kicked on again at Swansea while working alongside former England and Wales goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson.
“Every time I’ve been with England it’s been a pleasure, to be around the quality of players there,” said Rushworth.
“I want to see where I’m at, realising that’s Premier League quality or Championship quality and where do I fit in.
“If I do well I can hopefully be in the conversation with England in a few years’ time.
“The peak of any career is to play at international level and it would be foolish if I wasn’t aiming for that. That’s my dream, to play in the Premier League and for England as well.”
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