Just over a week ago, it was announced to the public that Arsenal defender Jen Beattie had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, an Instagram post from Aston Villa’s Chloe Arthur informed us that her treatment was over. To have fought this behind the scenes, in such a particularly challenging year, is nothing short of heroic, and the defender is certainly becoming a remarkable role-model for women all over the world to look up to.
Beattie shared her experiences and was met with overwhelming support and love from fans all across the football community. In an interview with the BBC, she opened up about her fears, her uncertainty, and the help she received from her teammates and the staff at Arsenal, saying “I don’t know what I would have done without them. The support I’ve got down here has got me through it, for sure.”
Beattie has started a discussion
Her story has highlighted the importance of the role of sports in people’s lives. Football creates second families, “a family away from family,” as Jen herself puts it. Especially in times like these, sport can act like a getaway and is available for everybody, no matter what difficulties they face.
Furthermore, somebody like her coming forward and speaking about her struggles will encourage others do to the same. By doing this, she is helping people gain the confidence they need to follow suit, and to help us come together to defeat this awful disease.
Her strength has been admirable
What is incredible is that Jen Beattie has been playing football at the very highest level all throughout her treatment. The Scotswoman has kept her spot as a regular starter in the heart of the Gunners’ defence and is one of the first names on the team-sheet for manager Joe Montemurro, week-in week-out. She is a very strong player on the pitch, and this situation has proven her notable strength and courage off of it.
Her goals this season have been met with heart-warming celebrations. When she scored her first, nobody knew quite the significance her finding the back of the net held, however we now know that it came just three days after she first found out that she had breast cancer: “To score, given I’d just been diagnosed, it was just the epitome of a team coming together,” she told the Telegraph.
When she headed past MacIver in yesterday’s 4-0 win against Everton, it was impossible not to smile. Teammates Leah Williamson and Jordan Nobbs ran straight over to Jen Beattie and were followed by the rest of the Arsenal girls, all showing their appreciation in a very moving moment.
The defender was named Player of the Match at full-time after a dominant display to keep Nicoline Sorensen and Hayley Raso quiet, and helped her side secure a clean-sheet and a valuable 3 points ahead of the Christmas break.
Beattie will hopefully continue to help the Gunners push for a Women’s Champion’s League position come the end of the season; it will be a difficult task, but her presence in the back 4 no doubt boosts their chances.
This morning’s news spread joy and hope across the entire football community; Jen Beattie is a real-life superhero who has shown resilience and unmatched strength these past months. She is now sharing her story and educating women across the globe, and she has my upmost respect and admiration.