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Real Stories

Dare to Dream Scholarship Finalist: Jack’s story

Discover Jack’s inspiring journey to becoming one of the eight finalists for the Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship. Learn how this scholarship is helping him pursue his dream of playing cricket post-treatment.

Jack, a 17-year-old from Maroubra, in Sydney has been named one of the eight finalists for the Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship.

The Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship was established 10 years ago, to inspire young people whose physical or mental health has been affected by cancer and to achieve their goals and ambitions. This scholarship, funded by Coles, helps young people build their future and can be put towards education or life goals.

“I was very excited. It’s quite nice to be recognised. The Dare to Dream Scholarship has helped me to keep my dream of playing cricket alive after treatment, and it’s just helping me get not back to a position where I can play.”

Jack’s life took an unexpected turn when what he thought was pain in his right knee due a sports injury. The persistence of the pain and lack of mobility led to Jack getting x-rays, which ultimately revealed the life-altering diagnosis, osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

The whirlwind of emotions and the physical toll of staying in hospital from Monday to Friday for chemotherapy treatment, left him grappling with the harsh realities of the disease.

“It was quite a rude shock to transition from playing sport seven days a week and enjoying time with your friends and your family, to then all of a sudden be by yourself with mum in hospital, for five days a week and you’re experiencing so much amount of pain, it was quite a tough reality to face.”

Jack recalls the challenges of the initial weeks of chemotherapy, describing it as an overwhelming experience. Nausea, vomiting, and the constant battle against pain became his daily reality.

“It was the sickest I’ve ever felt, and I was just vomiting every time. Every minute of the day felt like an hour. I couldn’t focus on anything, I couldn’t watch TV, read a book, I couldn’t do anything but lie there.”

“It was the sickest I’ve ever felt, and I was just vomiting every time. Every minute of the day felt like an hour. I couldn’t focus on anything, I couldn’t watch TV, read a book, I couldn’t do anything but lie there.”

Throughout the ordeal, Jack found unwavering support from his family, especially his parents, who became his pillars of strength.

“My parents got me through this. I wouldn’t be in the position I am without them. They’ve come in, especially mum, every day, in the morning, spend up to 16 hours a day with me a day and just making sure I was okay. I can’t put into words how grateful I am for them, and their role in my journey, it’s incredible.”

The emotional toll on his relationship with his twin sister, Ava, reflects the complexity of the situation. “I just felt so sick and I didn’t have that effort, and I didn’t really want her to see me like that, so I felt I pushed away from her a little bit.”

The Dare to Dream Scholarship brought new life into Jack’s aspirations. With a passion for cricket, the scholarship offers a lifeline to pursue his dreams post-treatment.

“My big dream is to hopefully to play in England, where there is a National Disability League for cricketers like me with knee and femoral replacements, who find it hard to run. It’ll be a nice environment, where you definitely feel understood and you can connect to a lot of the players, because we have gone through similar stuff, so you feel like you’re in a level playing field. I think the Dare to Dream Scholarship will help me in Australia to achieve that dream, overseas.”

Jack’s family heard about Redkite through Cancer Hub, and were able to access financial assistance, the Book Club, and counselling.

“I think Redkite has just eased the pressure of just the things away from cancer, especially just the financial support. It just helps my family to focus on me getting better, I think, and they didn’t have to worry too much about other things that was happening in life.”

“The counselling helped us just maintain a close relationship with each other. It affects you quite hard mentally, and I think just having that counselling for mum and dad, just with them in the right mental state, so they would help me to maintain good mental health as well.

My parents were my rock, and I felt like I could talk to them about anything, so having them in a good mental state definitely helped me in my thoughts and worries and maintain a positive outlook.”

Post cancer treatment, Jack is focusing on strengthening his leg and getting used to his new normal.

“It’s all physical treatment, physiotherapy three or four times a week, and hydrotherapy. Learning how to adjust to my new knee and what movements I can do. I’ve got a gym upstairs and I try to build up my muscle and try to adapt to the new leg and what I can do.”

Since 2013, Redkite and Coles have awarded 336 Dare to Dream Scholarships worth over $700,000 to support young Australians whose aspirations and goals have been impacted by their cancer diagnosis. 

Learn more about the Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship

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