Rebekah Stott: Helping Others Whilst on the Comeback Trail

For this week’s #MidweekDub feature, Rebekah Stott spoke to Kieran Yap about her business Beat It By Stotty, the new podcast she is launching, and her footballing comeback (5/1/22)

Above: Rebekah Stott on her first appearance for Melbourne City this season on the opening night at Canberra United. Photo: Melbourne City.

If she was judged purely on her on-field achievements, Rebekah Stott would be a legend of Australian domestic football.

The New Zealand international has had a long and successful career in the W-League/A-League Women and been a key player in some of the most dominant sides in the competition’s history.

Four Championships and two premierships would be enough to secure the legacy of any footballer but Stott’s story will be more than statistics of wins and losses.

In February of 2021, while signed to Brighton Hove and Albion in the FAWSL, Stott was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She has since returned to health and to football but after the whistle on game day there is more to be done.

The Melbourne City star is the founder of Beat It By Stotty. What started as a record of her journey through treatment evolved into a remarkable project.  Her business provides bags filled with essential and helpful items as patients begin cancer treatment.

The Beat It website describes a hospital travel bag based on her own experiences with specific compartments and good to help remove some of the stress in a very difficult time.

“When I first started, I was very unorganized going to appointments,” she told Impetus of the origins of Beat It.

 “I needed a bag which is specific for taking to hospital and helping me organize myself so that was the idea then I figured I could make it a blog to follow my journey and it kind of just grew from there.”

One of the highest-profile fundraisers has been charity auctions. The website has offered rare memorabilia from the world of football for fans to competitively bid on, raising money to supply the packs for cancer patients.

Some of the world’s best players have donated. Fran Kirby, Jess Fishlock , Steph Catley, Megan Rapinoe, and the legendary Marta are just some of the match-worn shirts available through the auctions.  The proceeds will have direct benefits.

“Probably just over 80” is Stott’s estimate on the number of bags that have been paid for.

“And then I’ve had Marlah who’s a little legend. She’s shaved her hair and raised six and a half grand (see https://www.instagram.com/p/CXp7pp_vUow/?hl=en)

“There’s heaps of bags to go around. Hopefully early in the new year, I’ll be able to distribute these.

“I have teamed up with Canteen and the Leukemia Foundation. They have a lot of patients who rely on them for their support, they will be distributing them to their contacts and patients.”

Above: One of the Beat It By Stotty bags. Photo: Beat It By Stotty.

On top of her philanthropy and while starting for the most successful women’s club in Australia, Stott is about to begin a podcast for Beat It.

The show is scheduled to be available by the end of January and will give listener a window into the hardships many face and how attitude can help overcome them.

“I just wanted to help people really, to share my story, and also shed a light on how having a positive mindset can really help get you through hard times,” says Stott of the show’s genesis.  

“It’s not going to just be about people going through cancer treatment. It’s going to be people who have had just very hard things in their life and they’ve used having a positive mindset to get through it.

“That’s the plan and hopefully it’s something listeners can really enjoy.”

There are no spoilers available for the guest list just yet but there will be some familiar faces.

“To start with, footballers that I know which is good because people don’t get to see too much of their lives and their struggles.

“A few guests like Lydia Williams, I’m not going to say anyone else.”

During her own treatment and recovery, Stott used her own positive mindset to keep pushing on and that is something she hopes to share through the podcast.

“For me, it was finding the positives in everyday life. The fact that I was in Melbourne meant that I could get a coffee every day which was a huge positive for me.

“Having Beat It and having a distraction from what I was going through really helped me and put me in a good mindset to really overcome what I was going through.

“It’s always good to think that there’s so many people in worse situations so that really helped me.”

When Stott first returned to the field it was on a mid-winter evening with NPLW club Bulleen. It was a heartwarming moment on a cold night but one she had been anticipating.

Above: Rebekah Stott during her comeback match for Bulleen in the Victoria NPLW. Photo: @Stotty_13

“I always knew I was going to be back to playing. It definitely wasn’t something I was thinking about a lot during treatment. It was ‘let’s get better first then let’s back to playing’,  but there wasn’t any doubt in my mind.

“I was going into that game and I wasn’t thinking much of it, then when I got onto the field I was actually quite emotional I was like, ‘Wow, I’m bald and standing here on this football field. I’ve come from cancer.’

“It was pretty surreal and emotional and yes it was the first step, and it was a long time ago and to see how far I’ve come and what I’ve been through this last year it’s pretty incredible.”

Stott has since returned to the A-League with a Melbourne City that has made an impressive start to the season. She has been deployed in a different role, on the team sheet she is listed as a defensive midfielder but often links the defence with the attack.

She is on managed game time but has been a crucial part of City’s lineup. In the second Melbourne derby she was dominant as they recorded a 5-1 win.

“When I sat down with Rado (Vidosic) in early of July he said ‘I want to use you as a six,’

“I’m definitely open to that idea and I don’t mind getting further up the field.

Above: Rebekah Stott pictured after returning to Melbourne City ahead of the new A-League Women season. Photo: Melbourne City.

“It was the plan all along, I’m finding my feet in there, I’m getting better every week and hopefully I can continue to learn and grow.”

That growth will likely not be limited to the pitch. The podcast, with co-host Yana Kyparisis (“she was kind of there throughout the whole experience with me.”) will launch in the coming weeks and while Beat It continues fundraising and distribution.

“It’s going be very conversational,” she says of the show’s format.

“Episodes won’t be too long, around 30 minutes, with a range of guests that all types of listeners can relate to or get a real insight into. Chatting about things that people have overcome and how they overcame it to try and help others.

“The most important thing to be is that the podcast can help people and showcase the importance of a positive outlook or mindset amidst difficult circumstances.”

Beat It By Stotty’s podcast will be available on Spotify and Apple.

Find out more information at https://www.beatitbystotty.com/

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