Jersey Reds plan Cancer Trust fundraiser as show of support for team-mate Leeming

PLAYERS and staff from Jersey Reds are due to get on their bikes next week to raise money on behalf of a team-mate who has been battling cancer.

Jersey Reds' professionals wore 'Leeming 10' shirts while warming up for last Saturday's Championship game against Nottingham at St Peter Picture: DAVID FERGUSON
Jersey Reds' professionals wore 'Leeming 10' shirts while warming up for last Saturday's Championship game against Nottingham at St Peter Picture: DAVID FERGUSON

The fundraising efforts by the rugby club will centre on a double lap of the Island, which they will carry out in virtual form on exercise bikes at Stade Santander.

Fly-half Sam Leeming was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last September, within a few weeks of having joined up with the Reds and starting pre-season training.

Having found himself well short of his usual standard of fitness, Leeming sought medical advice and was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour on the thymus gland behind his breastbone.

Following rounds of chemotherapy during the latter part of 2020, Leeming has been recovering over the past few months and hopes that a final scan next week will confirm that thee treatment has been a success.

On the same day as Leeming is booked in for his scan in England, his club colleagues in the Island will be aiming to hit a fundraising target of £5,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity that has helped the 23-year-old and others in his situation.

‘Sam’s been an inspiration to a lot of us in how he’s dealt with this, and we wanted to do something to acknowledge what he’s been through,’ said team-mate Max Argyle, one of the Reds’ senior players. ‘Others in the rugby community have taken part in fundraising and we’re pleased to have been able to do our bit from a Jersey perspective to raise some money and awareness.’

Around 50 people will take part in the event, completing a distance of 150km on the static bikes over an estimated two-hour period, and wearing special t-shirts bearing Leeming’s name and usual shirt number.

Leeming said he had seen at first-hand during the past eight months how the Teenage Cancer Trust helped those affected by a cancer diagnosis.

‘The support that the Trust gives families, carers and parents is huge,’ he said. ‘The nurses and carers that come in, especially for younger people, is invaluable – it’s such a good cause.’

Former team-mates at Hartpury University have also taken part in fundraising efforts, while Leeming’s brother Tom raised more than £15,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support through a 24-hour rowing challenge.

The efforts of the Reds’ professional squad follows similar initiatives by their amateur counterparts: the women’s squad amassing £2,500 for Jersey Women’s Refuge with their own cycling challenge, and Athletic players completing a marathon on L’Ecrivière sandbank at the Minquiers and raising £8,000 for Friends of Jersey Oncology.

After following his team-mates’ exploits remotely next week, Leeming hopes that he will be able to return to Jersey this summer and join up with team-mates once training starts ahead of the 2021/22 season.

To support the fundrising efforts, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jersey-reds.

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