Date: November 15, 2012

Family key as Jarrod Lyle continues fightback

Jarrod Lyle left reporters in a quandary on Tuesday in Melbourne after an emotion-charged press conference at Kingston Heath.

The dilemma was not Lyle’s doing – it was how to do justice to an extraordinary and painful story which has been Lyle’s life since being diagnosed with leukaemia earlier in 2012.

It’s been nothing short of a rollercoaster year for the young Victorian – enjoying his marriage to wife Briony, the birth of his daughter Lusi and battling the effects of a second bout of the illness which struck him down earlier in his life.

Following the birth of his daughter, a moment Lyle describes as the "best moment of my life," doctors had advised him he had 12 hours before he needed to start his treatment.

"It was probably the hardest moment of my life,” Lyle said, choking back tears.

"Going through the chemo and the transplant and all that was nothing compared to realising that I only had 12 hours with my brand new daughter."

Lyle said despite the visitors and well-wishers that night, he wouldn’t let Lusi out of his sight.

He has since survived via a transplant using donor blood from umbilical cords and is on a slow path to recovery.

The 31 year old, whose immune system is currently at a lower level than that of his daughter, confirmed he has an important meeting with doctors in Melbourne on Thursday which will give him a clearer picture of his health and treatment – a meeting where he hopes to hear "some good news would be nice for a change."

In light of the health battle, the international golf family has gathered around Lyle with messages of support coming from his fellow players on the PGA Tour.

"They put together a 40 minute video of messages for me from the other guys and I cried for 40 minutes," Lyle said.

"To see everyone at Bay Hill wearing the Leuk the Duck badges was a real lift – to see Tiger wearing one when he won was great."

Lyle revealed he’d also spoken with Phil Mickelson whose wife Amy and mother had both fought battles with breast cancer.

His return to competitive golf however, is some way off – if at all.

He’s pencilled in a possible return to the PGA Tour in 2014 – a move completely dependent on the ongoing success of his recovery.

With no intention of playing now, Lyle believes he would struggle to walk more than six holes with the energy he has available.

"I do want to get back to golf at some stage but I guess if I never hit another shot I’ll be happy," he said. "As long as I’ve got my health and as long as I’ve got my family with me I’m a happy boy."

Again fighting tears, Lyle paid tribute to his wife Briony who he said "had two babies" when Lusi was born, given her husband’s fragile health and vulnerability to infection.

"I don’t think there’s any way I’ll ever be able to repay her for what’s she’s done," Lyle said.

By: Hamish Jones (Golf Australia)