Umpire father’s new health crisis

The family of Mark Sayers, son Mitchell, 12, wife Tracy, and sons Zac, seven weeks, William, 3, and Michael, 9, are being supported by the community after the popular umpire survived a heart attack and now has cancer. Picture: TARA GOONAN

The family of Mark Sayers, son Mitchell, 12, wife Tracy, and sons Zac, seven weeks, William, 3, and Michael, 9, are being supported by the community after the popular umpire survived a heart attack and now has cancer. Picture: TARA GOONAN

Mark Sayers with wife Tracy after his heart attack earlier this year.

Mark Sayers with wife Tracy after his heart attack earlier this year.

SOME days Tracy Sayers just cries.

With the dust still settling from her husband Mark’s heart attack while umpiring at Beechworth, the Wangaratta family has found itself in the middle of another crisis.

Mark has cancer in his oesophagus and the family is under no illusions as to what lies ahead.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Tracy said.

“I think we are still all in shock.

“We went to get medication and more scripts for Mark after his heart attack and the doctor said: ‘Gee, you don’t look well, you look like you are going to faint on me’.

“He did some tests and the next thing we knew Mark was told he has cancer.”

In between Mark being revived by a defibrillator at half-time of a Tallangatta and District league match on May 31 and the cancer diagnosis, Tracy gave birth to the couple’s fourth child. Zac is now seven weeks old.

“We are going OK,” she said.

“It’s all happened at once hasn’t it?

“I don’t think people know what to say to be honest and I just break down and cry a lot of the time.”

Mark returned to Wangaratta from Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital last week after undergoing surgery to stop bleeding in his oesophagus and is likely to start chemotherapy next week.

It was only two months after he was flown to the same hospital following a heart attack.

Medics took about 20 minutes to revive him at Beechworth with the central umpire almost certain to have died if there wasn’t a doctor and nurse at the ground.

“When things like this happen I think you just realise you can’t take your life for granted,” Sayers told The Border Mail in the days after.

The sporting community is rallying behind the Sayers family.

The North Wangaratta and Glenrowan football clubs, the City Colts Cricket Club and AFL North East Umpires are leading the way while Mark’s former Melbourne club, Albanvale, has also been in touch.

Mark was named at full-forward in Albanvale’s Team of the Century earlier this year.

AFL North East Border field umpires coach Shane Downie said Mark was a fighter.

“Mark’s a typical Australian bloke who loves his family and football,” Mr Downie said.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop