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An Update Regarding Bill Powney

September 19, 2012

Editor’s note:
What follows are two emails regarding the recent developments regarding Bill Powney. The first is from Dr. Karl Cernovitch and details Bill’s condition, while the second is a follow-up from Giulia on behalf of Bill and the family.

First Email – From Karl (Monday, September 17th)
Second Email – From Giulia (Wednesday, September 19th)

Monday, September 17th – 10:14pm
From: Karl Cernovitch
Subject: Regarding Bill Powney – Important

Hi all,

There is no good way to open this email, so I will get directly to the point.

Those of you who were at the 55th a few weeks ago will recall that Bill was having some trouble with pains in his neck.

He came to see me on Friday at the hospital in order to try to get to the root of what was going on, and to get some x-rays done before seeing an Orthopedic surgeon this week. When I examined him I realized that his pains were much more complicated than a slipped disc and some tight muscles.

After some further testing I sat outside his room wondering how I could possibly walk in and tell my friend, the man who has been coaching me for the last twenty-two years, what I had found.

Bill has a tumor in his neck that his invading his spine.  This is one of 3 tumors that have been identified so far.  We also found one in his lung, and one in his brain. He has been admitted to hospital and is undergoing further testing, however the working diagnosis so far is metastatic lung cancer.

Evidently Bill, Guilia, Rob, Marie, Karma, and Nik have all been blindsided by this, and have been coming to grips with the news over the last 4 days.

As we all know, Bill has been the heart and soul of the Wanderers for decades.  He has been responsible for moulding the rugby careers of several generations of players, including a number of internationals. A testament to this is that one of his biggest concerns in the hours that followed my telling him the news, was how we could work the testing around him getting out of the hospital in order to make it to the Wanderers semi-final on Saturday…

More importantly he was also integral in introducing us (for me at the age of 15) to the joys of single malt.

So it was with a heavy heart that I broke the news to him on Friday and now to you, his extended family.

I am confident that we as a club and as individuals, will do what we can to support Bill and his family in the struggle to follow.


Karl Cernovitch

Wednesday, September 19th – 11:55am
From: Giulia Collins
Subject: A message from Bill

Bill Powney has been overwhelmed by the affection and love that has poured in to him from around the world, once people became aware of the challenges he faces. As you know, he always wants to respond to you all individually and immediately but at this moment he must devote all his energies to strengthening himself both physically and mentally for the treatments that he will require.

We are currently awaiting the outcome of the battery of tests he has had, which will decide the form of treatment he will undergo in order to get all of his health and strength back.

Please note that treatment has not yet started and Bill needs peace and quiet and rest – that in itself is an immense challenge as you all know.!!!

We shall,of course, keep you updated on all salient events as they develop.

Thanking you all once again for the amazing love, affection and respect shown to Bill and we thank you in advance for your kind co-operation and understanding.

Bill is looking forward to watching and celebrating a great win on Saturday. So go do it!!

Thank you all,

Bill and Giulia
Marie, Rob, Charley, Nik and Sophia

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