Jones battling for life

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

Tyrone Jones recalled visiting the cancer ward to sign autographs for kids at the Health Sciences Centre back when he was a star linebacker for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the 1980s.

Now, he can relate. Jones was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.

"Until you walk in a person's footsteps, you never can tell what they're going through," Jones said before the club's Legacy Dinner yesterday. "So now, I realize what they've gone through with the chemo and the nausea and the whole nine yards.

"Now, I can get more emotionally involved with them and put a smile on somebody's face because, right now, I just take it one day at a time and I try to make every day my masterpiece. I get up in the morning and thank God for being here because there's a lot of people who don't wake up in the morning and say they've got cancer."

Jones, 44, has already lost the sight in his left eye due to a tumour in his brain.

"It's the size of a grapefruit and it's eaten out my eye socket and my sinus capillary and they said basically, it's inoperable," he said. "I've taken two different doses of chemotherapy, then I've taken chemotherapy pills. One bottle of pills is $3,000 US. I take five pills in the morning and five in the afternoon and the thing hasn't dissipated. In fact, it's gotten larger."

He is now seeking a second opinion.

"Basically, it's cut and dried," said Jones, one of the all-time great Bombers being recognized last night. "I put it all into God's hands."

But he is getting help. The Blue Bomber Alumni has set up a trust account, the Tyrone Jones Fund, to help him with expenses. Donations can be made at any local TD Canada Trust. And all proceeds from Never Alone bracelet sales this weekend will be sent there.

Bomber president/CEO Lyle Bauer, who has had his own battle with cancer, has been supporting Jones whatever way he could the last few months.

"He has a big fight against him and we want to make sure we're behind him," Bauer said. "One thing that we always say is that, once you're Blue and Gold, you're Blue and Gold forever and you're Never Alone.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with Tyrone as I know as people were with my situation."

Jones has also been encouraged by James West, one of his best friends.

Support from teammates

"I think he was more or less afraid more than anything else because if someone tells you you're going to die, what else are you going to think?" said the former Bombers linebacker, who was also here among the all-time greats. "So, my thing was to encourage him that he's going to live.

"My faith told me that God is still in the healing business and that he should not think it's a death sentence for him. He's going to be like Lyle. He's going to be a walking miracle."

And Jones is taking the positive approach.

"They say that faith without works is dead," he said. "You've got to have faith and I've got to start working. I want to start a foundation and I want to work with people."

But he still has one lingering wish.

"Line up there one more time and come off the edge doing 9,000 and an underbrush (move)," he said.


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