A brave schoolboy who inspired his parents to set up a charity has joined forces with Wigan Warriors.
Ten-year-old Jack Johnson, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, has been named as the ambassador for the club’s physical disability rugby league (PDRL) team.
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The youngster - best known as the face of charity Joining Jack - went along to a team training session to meet the players and see them in action. He was joined by his family, including brother James, and the pair even scored a few tries themselves.
Jack said: “I am really excited to be an ambassador for Wigan Warriors disability rugby league team. I think it’s a brilliant idea to give people living with disabilities like me the opportunity to play rugby.
“I really enjoyed watching the team train. All the players made me feel really welcome and I can’t wait to support them during the season.”
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is one of the most common fatal genetic disorders in children. Around one in 3,500 boys worldwide has the condition, with 20,000 new cases reported each year in the developed world.
Parents Alex and Andy Johnson, a former Warriors star, were inspired to set up charity Joining Jack to raise funds for research into treatment or a cure for Duchenne.
They organise a host of popular fund-raising events, including the Wigan 10k, Run Wigan Festival and Wigan Bike Ride, and have ploughed hundreds of thousands of pounds into research.
Anthony Atherton, community innovation manager for the Warriors, said: “The coaching staff are doing a fantastic job with our PDRL team.
“It links closely to the foundation’s core objective of providing high quality rugby league experiences for everyone within our community.
“The coaches and management team we now have in place are doing just that, with a new season around the corner, we are looking towards playing opportunities and working closely with the Rugby Football League to make it happen.”
Head coach Scott Burns said: “Having Jack around the team is fantastic. I am so pleased that he agreed to come on board as an ambassador - along with his assistant James!
"The team were so excited to have Jack at the last training session and were delighted when he joined in with the game. Seeing Jack and the lads all taking part and enjoying rugby league, regardless of ability, is what we are all about.”
The team trains alternate Fridays, from 7pm to 8pm at Central Park. For details email firstname.lastname@example.org