Play4Jake Charity Wheelchair Rugby – Port Macquarie

Jake Spurdle was just a regular Mid North Coast teenager until he received a shattering and life-changing medical diagnosis on December 30, 2019. After months of undiagnosed hip pain, an MRI scan showed a tumour in his pelvis, later revealed to be osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

Life for Jake and his mum Nyky was turned upside down by the news and they had no time to take it in before Jake started treatment.

“We only had 15 minutes to pack and then we got flown down to Sydney,” Jake says in a video on the Play4Jake website. “It was really stressful.”

Nyky says: “That was the beginning of our journey at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and we were down in Sydney for seven months.

“We have been trying to find ways to keep positive, because that’s the type of people we are, and I caught up with a friend I used to work with in nursing and we came up with the idea of Play4Jake.

“It’s really gone from there, from perhaps auctioning some things to this really massive event that’s going to take place in Port Macquarie with South Sydney legends on board and it’s a really exciting, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Play4Jake, which aims to raise funds to help with Jake’s treatment, has grown into a weekend of events including a golf day and a dinner which have both been sold out, as well as ‘friendly’ wheelchair rugby matches between the legends from Jake’s favourite NRL team, South Sydney, and a team put together by local triple Paralympic gold medallist Riley Batt. Riley organised Jake’s wheelchair when the 15-year-old could no longer walk, and Jake says there is nothing more terrifying than seeing Riley hurtling towards you in his wheelchair. The event will be held at Port Macquarie Indoor Stadium, starting at 9.30am on Saturday. The canteen will be open for bacon and egg rolls, coffee and other items for a great start to the day. Funds raised will also support other families through the work of Sydney-based biopharmaceutical company EnGeneIC that is using nano cell technology to treat Jake’s condition. Jake is the first osteosarcoma patient in the world to be treated this way. Due to current restrictions on crowd numbers, tickets for the wheelchair rugby are selling fast, so be sure to book via the website to ensure your place.  Every donation (ticket) made over $2 is tax-deductible. Tickets: Adults $15, Children (age 7-16) $8, Family $30.

When: Saturday, January 30, 9.30am-11.30am

Where: Port Macquarie Indoor Stadium, 1 Hibbard Drive