One of New Zealand’s greatest cricketers, Debbie Hockley, has revealed for the first time that she has battled cancer over the past 12 months.
The White Ferns legend and current NZ Cricket president doesn't want her story to come across as woe-is-me. Rather, the international cricket hall of famer wants to tell her story to make sure other women have regular checks.
“It was a shock, to be fair," she told 1 NEWS. "I didn't have any symptoms - that's what was more of a shock."
Up until now she'd kept the diagnosis private.
She was diagnosed with endometrial cancer last October, given the word by specialists in Christchurch.
“When she said to me, 'Don't book anymore overseas travel,' I then started to think maybe it's not nothing,” she said.
Hockley underwent chemo and radio therapy, completing the treatment in June. The New Zealand Cricket president was then allowed to travel to the men's World Cup.
“I'm so lucky living in Christchurch. The whole of the cancer treatment and staff have been sensational," she said. "I needed to get clearance, I was lucky enough to go. I did think this is a nice reward to go and support the guys at the end of my treatment."
That included the surreal final at Lord's and the infamous ricochet off Ben Stokes' bat.
“I was standing in the long room looking out the window watching this ball roll towards me and thinking you've got to be joking,” she said.
The 56-year-old has seen pretty much everything on a cricket field, enjoying a staggering career spanning nearly two decades after making her debut as a teenager.
She became the first woman in history to play 100 one-day internationals and is one of just three New Zealanders, man or woman, to be inducted into the international cricket hall of fame.
A physio by trade, specialising in artificial limbs, she says the game itself has been hugely supportive.
“I'm hoping it's gone and won't come back - that's the way I'm viewing it,” she said.
The only option, she says, is taking a positive approach, like many who are diagnosed with cancer.
“I had my birthday in hospital. When I look back on it, it's the best birthday present I've ever had, a total hysterectomy, not many people can say that,” a laughing Hockley said.
The former national captain also wants to send a serious, clear plea to other women.
“If there's one message I could give you, please make that appointment, have the cervical smear test. It could really save your life.”