12 months on from his Myeloma diagnosis, Essendon assistant coach Dale Tapping is feeling the best he's been since beginning his battle with blood cancer.

Back to living a normal lifestyle and returning to his coaching duties with the Bombers, Tapping has placed a focus on “staying in the moment” as he continues treatment for an incurable disease.

Speaking to Zero Hanger, the 58-year-old opened up on his Myeloma journey that has recently found a positive path.

“All my indicators surrounding Myeloma and all the associated measures for me are as good as they have been in that 12-month period,” he revealed.

“I pretty much had a completely new immune system put into my body, so my old one was decommissioned so to speak. I had some cells harvested through a procedure, about a month prior, and then they were harvested back into my body again. At this point in time, with my response to the current treatment, it has been really positive.

“My report card is probably as good as it's been in that 12-month period, which is fantastic.”

For Tapping, A visit to the club doctor in January last year for a minor ear matter would lead to the discovery of the cancer after raising some concerns of rib pain while visiting the physician.

While he thought little of the affliction at the time, Tapping's world was soon capsized after the doctor ordered follow-up scans that would unveil Myeloma.

Every 28 minutes someone in Australia is diagnosed with blood cancer. More than 1,000 people urgently need a stem cell donation, with the generosity of ordinary Australians their only hope.

In a matter of days for Tapping, he was in the hands of specialists, taking the first steps in his cancer battle, thanking the quick actions of his hasty doctor and the growing awareness around blood cancer.

“Within 48 hours I went from getting treated for a moderate blockage (in my ear) to getting told I've been diagnosed with Myeloma,” he revealed.

“To the doctor's credit, he already had things in place for me in terms of visiting the specialist the following week. There were a few plans already in motion already. He was on the front foot and by Monday I was in to see a specialist and find out just how far into this I was.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 16: Essendon Assistant Coach Dale Tapping talks to the media during an Essendon Bombers AFL intra club match at The Hangar on February 16, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)

The days between the diagnosis and the start of his treatment were the hardest, with the father of two opening up on the “extremely difficult” moment he told his family of the earth-shattering news.

The support from family, friends and positive thinking have aided Tapping's 12-month battle, with the well-respected Essendon assistant taking swift and necessary steps to put up a fight against his new illness.

“When you've told you've got cancer, and the other layering component to it is that there's no cure for it, it's pretty confronting to be honest,” he said.

“The initial diagnosis, the shock and relaying that messaging, particularly to your family and children, was extremely difficult at the time.

“But then the more I understood it, got my head around it, aligned myself with some world-renowned specialists and put myself in capable hands (did I find guidance).

“But I had to knuckle down and get on with it. I'm not being flippant when I say that, there was a lot going on at that point in time in terms of testing and finding out the depth of where this all is.

“So we resourced all the information and got all the evidence we needed to get a program in place that was going to allow us to treat it. There is a lot of positivity around Myeloma in terms of people that have been diagnosed and have been able to manage and live a fairly normal lifestyle for a substantial period of time. I hope I'm one of those."

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Blood cancer doesn't discriminate, but donating stem cells can help the fight and those like Tapping get back on the front foot.

“So 12 months on things are pretty positive regarding my health and functioning normally. I'm exercising regularly, still working, still coaching and living a pretty normal lifestyle," Tapping added.

“For the most part I've lived a pretty healthy life, and hopefully in doing that it can reward me at the other end.”

While Tapping stepped away from his duties with Essendon for most of last season, the former Brisbane and Collingwood assistant managed to find energy from his high-spirited playing group and coaches.

Open in discussing and detailing his fight, Tapping was able to spread awareness of Myeloma to the club after an “emotional” initial conversation about his diagnosis.

The club found inspiration in Tapping's battle, with the feeling mirrored by their assistant coach in more ways than one.

“I did inform the playing group and that was a difficult conversation. It was emotional,” Tapping said.

“I'm not quite sure the depth of knowledge that (the playing group) have got (in regards to blood cancer). I didn't have a great deal myself but I certainly have a greater awareness now.

“I must say, the players and the football club in its entirety have been amazing in terms of their support. I couldn't speak higher of the support I've had. From Craig Vozzo, Brad Scott, along with the other coaches, and the players.

“Footy clubs are full of energy and they're very vibrant, and I've tried to use that vibrancy and energy to aid me. So I'm using them as much as they might be using me in terms of finding that energy.

“They'll come and talk to you and I've been very open and I'm happy to talk about it. I did find out one of our players' parents has got it. It's closer than you think sometimes, and I'm sure everyone in most environments has been touched by some form of illness or cancer in one way or another.

“Not that you spend a lot of time thinking about it, but when you do have a chat about it you realise it's probably a lot closer than what most people think.”

Now over a year on from when his “number was drawn”, Tapping is continuing to take the positives from his cancer battle as he remains immersed in the present.

Wanting to be the best father, husband and coach he can be each day, Tapping is back ‘paying for haircuts' with a smile on his face and a newfound outlook on life.

“I'm not looking too far ahead, and I'm certainly not looking back,” he said.

“My head, generally, is staying in the moment. We often talk about that as coaches and as players. Staying in the moment is sometimes more difficult because we all have a lens to what life could be down the track.

“Sometimes you can look back, but you can't change anything. Today it is what it is. You manage the day and go about your business and try to provide the best version of yourself every day. It sounds really simple, but that's been my attitude towards it right from the get-go once I got my head around it all.

“I don't think once I've gone into self-pity mode and asked ‘why me'? I haven't made any excuses about it. It doesn't discriminate, and it just happened that my number was drawn.

“I'm not scared of what's coming. I'm not scared of it and I'm just attacking every day as best I can.”

Blood cancer can affect anyone., While Strength To Give is specifically looking for men aged 18-35 to join the fight against blood cancer, diversity can be the difference between life and death as patients are more likely to find a donor match from a similar genetic background. Right now, only 21% of Australia's registered donors are from an ethnically diverse background.

You too can be a game-changer. Swab A Cheek to Save A Life.