Young schoolboy Riley Agent will celebrate getting the cancer all-clear by taking part in one of his beloved rugby team’s most magical moments.
When Leigh Centurions take to the field for the first-ever Super League clash at Leigh Sports Village, young Riley will be carrying out the match ball alongside his heroes.
Riley was chosen for the honour because his mum Pam’s employers, Leigh firm Astley Hire, are sponsoring the ball for the landmark clash against Leeds Rhinos on Friday, their first home game since being promoted to Super League.
It will be a double celebration for Riley, a pupil at Glazebury C of E Primary School, as just before his fifth birthday he was finally given the fantastic news that doctors are confident his cancer will not return.
Riley was diagnosed with an aggressive form of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma stage 4s aged just 10 days old, in November 2011, after he was taken into hospital and doctors discovered a tumour on his liver.
It was the discovery of that tumour which ultimately saved his life, as further tests revealed the neuroblastoma, a tumour which forms on the adrenal gland and is often undetected until it is too large to treat.
It’s all a bit of a blur now but at the time you just go on autopilot. There were times when I really thought I would lose himPam Agent
Mum Pam, 27, said: “It was horrendous. We went for a normal midwife check-up and they noticed his tummy had swelled up, and we were sent to hospital for tests. I was expecting them to say he had a bit of wind, but they found the tumour on his liver and that lead to them finding the neuroblastoma.
“We were really lucky because if he hadn’t had the liver tumour, they might not have found the neuroblastoma until it was too late. If they had found it at a later stage this could have been a very different story.
“It’s all a bit of a blur now,” added Pam. “But at the time you just go on autopilot. There were times when I really thought I would lose him.
“There were times during the treatment when I thought his stomach would pop as it was so swollen with all the fluid they were putting into him. I’m so grateful for everything everyone in the NHS did to save him. Riley wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them. He still has the tumour on the adrenal gland but thank fully it has calcified and they consider it no longer a threat.”
Now all Riley’s hopes are on his impending moment in the spotlight, when he will carry the ball to the centre spot at his local club’s biggest game of the year so far.
Pam said: “He’s rugby mad, so this is a real dream come true.”