A Liverpool student has been forced to stop playing rugby after he was diagnosed with stage 4 salivary gland cancer.
Jago Ford, 21, was diagnosed in March, and has played rugby since the age of six. He moved to Merseyside four years ago to study sports psychology at Liverpool John Moores University.
Given his sporting passion, top of the “to do” list upon arrival was join Firwood Waterloo Rugby Club, and he played regularly.
But earlier this year, the Cornishman was given the devastating news the cancer had spread to his skull and that he would have to stop playing the sport he loves.
He said: “Unfortunately retiring from rugby wasn’t my decision. It was overwhelming because I’m still fit enough to play and good enough to play so it was a heart-breaking moment, to work so hard at something for so long for it to be taken from you.
“I’ve been diagnosed twice in the past two years, so I was kind of prepared for it to be the same again, but I think I was just shocked at how bad it was when it spread to my brain.”
His mother, Rowann Ford said: “Jago’s illness was devastating. I felt devastated for him when he had to retire, seeing what he’s done and achieved for it all to be snatched away was hard.
“I was proud to see how he’s handled it all, just bursting with pride, that’s my boy.”
Jago added: “You could either lie in bed all day and mope around and let it affect you, or you can take control of it and carry on with life which is the biggest piece of advice I could give to anyone going through a similar situation.”
He became very close with the Firwood Waterloo coaches and team, and is still involved attending training sessions and games.
He added: “The team have wrapped their arms around me, it’s been a long old journey, but they still bring me to training and cook me dinner. The clubs like one big family and they’ve been great and kept me in the loop and very sane.”
Jago has booked coaching badges courses and wants to continue working with mini junior teams alongside the women’s team at Firwood Waterloo.