“Don’t be tough”: NRL player Fine Kula’s lesson after beating brain cancer at Westmead

From training with the Cronulla Sharks to lying in a hospital bed, Fine Kula’s heroic battle with brain cancer captured hearts across western Sydney, the Shire, and Australia last year.

The rising NRL star was diagnosed with medulloblastoma at the start of 2020, and underwent treatment at Westmead Hospital.

Fine and his oncologist Dr Vivek Bhadri join us on the latest episode of Western Sydney Health Check to share how the 21 year old beat the aggressive medulloblastoma tumour thanks to the expert care and the support of his family, girlfriend, team mates and former school.

Fine (right) with his partner Anisha Zissis

“It was a bit of tear-jerker day. Once the doctors showed us the scan and said that it was all clear, me and my dad looked at each other and just cried,” Fine told Western Sydney Health Check as he recalled receiving the news he was all-clear after months of gruelling cancer treatment.

“Probably one thing I could say is don’t be tough,” Fine stressed.

“Because that’s all I did. I tried to be tough about the headaches. I tried to be tough about it thinking me, a rugby league player, thinking being fit meant I wouldn’t get sick.

“Anything that goes wrong – always check it out.”

After dedicating seven years of his life to football, Fine was forced to give up his dream of playing professionally – but he’s found a new calling in the sport by coaching the Sharks under 17s men’s and under 19 women’s representative teams.

But it’s an incredible result for a young man whose life was touch-and-go at one point last year, as Dr Bhadri revealed in the podcast.

Fine’s oncologist Dr Vivek Bhadri

“Fine was in a very bad state,” Dr Bhadri said.

“He also had evidence the tumour had spread down his spine. So when we first started treating him, Fine was basically confined to bed, could hardly walk or talk or eat.

“There was a time where it really was touch and go as to whether he was going to survive. We were really concerned; he started off in a really dire situation.”

Dr Bhadri revealed how rare Fine’s type of cancer was – making up less than 1% of adult brain tumours.

“At Westmead (we) get one or two cases of medulloblastoma per year, so it’s pretty uncommon.”

Also in this week’s episode – Taylah Massingham debuts The Pulse Top 3, recapping the biggest stories of the week on The Pulse.

Listen to the latest episode here – follow for new episodes released every week.

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