An amateur Wigan rugby club has launched a fund-raiser to help the family of a “wonderful” and "hugely talented" Wigan teen diagnosed with a rare brain tumour.
Wigan St Judes RL club has started an appeal to help one of its under 13 players, Josh Mawdsley, who could lose his eye due to the cancerous growth and may never play rugby again.
The Hawkley Hall High School student now faces a gruelling course of chemotherapy followed by surgery to beat the disease.
St Judes has set up a JustGiving page to help raise money for Josh’s family as his mum Liz will leave work as he goes through treatment.
Super League stars and members of amateur rugby league clubs across the North of England have backed the appeal, offering messages of support to the young maroons team member.
A statement from the club says: “Wigan St Judes are devastated to hear that one of our u13s maroons players, Josh Mawdsley, has been diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour.
“It is a very rare tumour in a very difficult place and it's likely that Josh could also lose his eye.
“Josh is now facing 6 to 8 weeks of chemotherapy before surgery to remove the tumour and he will then need reconstructive surgery to fix the damage to his skull.
“The likelihood of him ever taking to the field again is extremely slim but this is a small price to pay as long as he is safe, healthy and cancer free.
“It's about the worst news on every front for this brave young man but in times of desperation we must maintain hope and belief that all will come good again.
“Neil Birch who has coached Josh since Newbies describes Josh as a hugely talented forward, a great friend and teammate and a wonderful human being.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Josh and his family at this difficult time but we know Josh will not be beaten and will fight his way back to full health.
“Let's raise some money for the family and show him that the Rugby League community are with him all the way. We will need your help.
“We are all behind you Josh.”
Wigan Warriors legend Sam Tomkins was among a group of rugby league stars who took to Twitter to send their messages to the poorly teen.
Tomkins tweeted: “Good Luck with your recovery Josh, thinking of you mate.”
Barrie McDermott added: “Please pass on my best wishes to Josh and get in touch if I can help him and his family.”
Wigan Warriors star, Dom Manfredi, also sent his wishes, saying: “Stay strong Josh, wishing you all the best with your recovery.”
To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/r-fouracre