By RON FANFAIR
A former Canadian cricketer faces the fight of his life. All-rounder Errol Barrow was diagnosed with cancer in his jaw a few months ago and is recovering at his mother’s home in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) after undergoing a three-hour surgery in early August at Toronto General Hospital to remove the tumor on the right side of his face.
Barrow, a Canadian citizen who splits time between his birthplace Barbados and the GTA, was diagnosed last May.
“It started out with swelling that just grew to the point where it became a challenge for me to eat or just open my mouth,” Barrow, who celebrates his 41st birthday next Wednesday (October 13), told Share. “I knew something was very wrong and that was verified when I saw specialists here.”
He has been undergoing chemotherapy every three weeks since the surgery.
“I have to spend three days in hospital every three weeks to do that procedure,” he said. “After the fifth and final round of chemo treatment, I am scheduled to do another surgery because my physicians have told me this is a necessary precaution to ensure that the cancer did not spread to the eye area.”
Barrow acknowledged the support of his parents and good friend Don Maxwell, a former Canadian all-rounder.
“Don has been my rock,” he said. “This has been the most difficult challenge I have faced in my life and it’s good to know that people care and are there for you when you are down.”
The Lodge student was a member of the strong 1986 Barbados Cricket Association’s first division team that included Sherwin Campbell, Roland Holder and Vasbert Drakes who went on to play for the West Indies and wicketkeeper/batsman Livy Puckerin who represented Barbados.
He skipped the opportunity to play for Barbados in the 1987 Caribbean youth tournament in Jamaica, choosing instead to come to Canada that year to join his mother and further his education.
Cricket was however in his blood and the right-arm medium pacer and lower-order batsman was soon back on the field in his new environment, representing Dovercourt for three seasons before transferring to York University where he made a significant contribution in the club’s first premier league contest in May 1990.
Set a modest 121 for victory, a strong and experienced Vikings team seemed to be cruising to an easy win at 33-2 when Barrow struck with lightning effect, claiming six wickets in 29 balls to send Vikings tumbling to 78 all out.
“That was one of the best spells of sustained bowling I have witnessed,” former Canadian batsman Paul Prashad, who was one Barrow’s seven victims, said at the time.
Barrow made his Canadian debut the following season against the United States in a two-game limited overs series in Calgary and was the most productive and effective national bowler with 5-61 off 22 overs.
That outstanding performance along with a fine all-round premier league season earned Barrow the 1991 Donald King national scholarship and a six-week trip to Australia to receive coaching and play Grade cricket.
He ended his cricket career in Canada with Victoria Park before returning to Barbados to live part-time and play for BET, now LIME.