Seve: ‘It’s important to laugh a lot’

Seve Ballesteros didn’t look like a man who has been batting cancer when he made a rare public appearance in Madrid.

Seve Ballesteros looked anything but a man who has been batting cancer when he made a rare public appearance in Madrid on Friday.

The charismatic Spanish golfing icon, now 53, was all smiles and light-hearted laughter when he opening a symposium on brain tumors supported by his Seve Ballesteros Foundation.

The five-time major winner has been fighting to regain his health following the shock diagnosis that he was suffering with a life-threatening brain tumor after collapsing at the Madrid airport in 2008. He has since undergone a series of operations to remove the tumor followed by chemotherapy and other associated medical procedures.

“I’m very well. Little by little and week by week I notice small improvements. I’m on the road towards normality,” a beaming Ballesteros told the media at the Symposium.

Walking completely unaided and speaking much more clearly than at any of his previous appearances in public, Ballesteros later joined in the question and answer session during which he smilingly quizzed his own doctor.

But mainly he spoke about his recovery programme.

“The key is to have a strong mind, to accept the situation and to beat it,” he said.

“I have been on a very strict diet and have done a lot of exercise. Gym work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday doing weights and stretching.

“I walk two hours a day, I sleep well, rest a lot…and I laugh. It’s important to laugh a lot. Even though we are out of work and suffering with the crisis, laughing doesn’t cost anything.”

Doctor Cristobal Belda, one of the key surgeons who operated on Ballesteros, praised his patient’s attitude.

“Seve is well enough and recovering,” he said. “The work he is doing isn’t something for a few days or months. It’s an enormous effort.

“It is a physical and psychological rehabilitation.”