Jake Boyd’s story of playing senior footy for Blighty is one full of inspiration.
The talented 15 year-old has played three senior games for the club, something that would have seemed unlikely when he was a child battling serious health issues.
When Jake was three years old he had a cancerous Wilms Tumour growing on his left kidney.
A Wilms Tumor is a rare form of cancer, affecting about five per cent of child cancer patients.
The tumour was 7cm and had taken over Jake’s entire kidney, meaning he had to have the organ removed.
Jake’s father Matt, affectionately known as Jok Bok, said it was a difficult time for he and his wife, Kellie.
‘‘Jake had to go through chemo for three months following the kidney’s removal,’’ he said.
‘‘He was in remission for about five years but he’s come good following the whole ordeal.
‘‘The doctors tried to cover him in cotton wool and said he shouldn’t play contact sports, but there was no stopping him from playing footy.
‘‘He’s a tough customer and we’re just so proud of him.’’
Jake started his footy with the Blighty fourths under coach Andrew ‘Banjo’ Cochrane before playing a couple of years with Finley in the Murray League.
Last year he represented the Murray League at an Under 14s interleague carnival in Rochester and claimed the Finley fourths leading goalkicking award.
Jake made the decision to return to the Redeyes this year, following his Dad who decided to return to Blighty to play for the club’s reserves.
‘‘I felt like I should follow Dad back out there and I’m loving it,’’ Jake said.
‘‘It’s a fantastic club and for them to give me the chance to play senior footy as a bottom age thirds player has been good.
‘‘My health issues in the past haven’t affected me in the long run so it’s been pretty easy to overcome.
‘‘I just leave it in the past and get on with my footy.’’
It was only Saturday week ago that Jake and his Dad were able to live out their dream of playing footy together.
The father-son combination were a part of Blighty’s senior side which defeated Mathoura by 82 points. Matt said he couldn’t be prouder of his son, adding that he will always remember that day.
‘‘He’s fresh out of the fourths and to see him play in the seniors gave me such pride,’’ Matt said.
‘‘But the Saturday that we played together topped it off for me. I thought maybe we’d be playing footy together in the twos but never thought it’d be in seniors.
‘‘Daniel Kirchen (senior coach) made a big deal about it before the game and it was just so special.’’