Football Ferns star Rebekah Stott has revealed that she has been diagnosed with blood cancer.
The 27-year-old, who has 81 international caps, made the announcement on social media that she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
"I know the journey ahead will be difficult, but I want to face each obstacle with a positive mindset and help inspire others who have blood cancer too.
"Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far."
In a video posted on her Twitter account, Stott said she knew "something was not right".
"I had two big lumps on my neck that were growing.
"It was pretty intense, and pretty stressful, but at the same time I had a lot of support around me."
She said there were "various different types" of Hodkgin's Lymphoma, but it was "very treatable, very curable, especially in young people".
She said the lymphoma had "travelled below my diaphragm, which means it's Stage 3", which requires "more intensive chemotherapy, involving four months of a 21-day cycle".
In an interview with ESPN, Stott said she hopes to get back playing.
"I did a bone marrow biopsy and PET scan, that showed Stage 3 [Hodgkin's Lymphoma]," Stott told ESPN. "Which means I have to do a more aggressive type of chemotherapy, so over the next four months I'll go through six cycles of a 21-day process, that means I'll probably lose my fertility ... I'll lose my hair.
"It's going to be a tough four months but hopefully by then it's all gone and I can get back to playing."
Stott says she's taking a positive approach to her diagnosis.
"I think the fact that it took three months to get to a diagnosis really helped me," she said. "They mentioned early on that it could be a possibility that it was Lymphoma, so I had a lot of time to process that and prepare myself.
"When they finally did come to a conclusion it was almost like relief that, okay, now I know what it is, I can get this figured out, I can get the treatment I need and just get on with it.
"Over this whole time I've had quite a positive mentality, I've tried to take out the positives of the situation – I know it's going to be a really tough time, but I think if I go into it with a strong mentality I think I'll come out of it really good."
She says she doesn't intend to hang up her boots any time soon and is looking forward to working towards playing at her home 2023 FIFA World Cup in New Zealand.
"That's my target – that gives me enough time to get back fit and healthy and hopefully, even come back stronger … So that's definitely on my mind and a goal for me to strive for."
Stott was playing in England for Brighton and Hove Albion but recently returned to Australia for medical reasons.
She began her career in Australia and helped Melbourne City win the 2020 W-League title before joining Brighton.
The defender has been a permanent fixture in the Football Ferns starting side and has scored four international goals for New Zealand.