NEWCASTLE Knights rugby league player Trent Hodkinson has given Morisset Park teenager Jacinta Gomez a lift as she continues to battle leukaemia.
Last year, Hodkinson founded the ‘Tren7's Kick for Kids' initiative in which he dedicates his conversions to a child spending time in hospital or battling serious illness.
The former NSW halfback wrote Jacinta’s name on his kicking tee in the recent National Rugby League (NRL) match against South Sydney at Newcastle.
After the game, Hodkinson presented a Knights jersey to Jacinta, along with the personalised kicking tee, an Adidas gift pack, and a voucher for Pet Resorts Australia.
Mum Kirsten said it was Jacinta’s first NRL game, and she got a buzz from seeing Hodkinson score a try and boot two goals from “her” tee.
“This is an awesome initiative that definitely doesn't get enough media time,” Mrs Gomez said.
“Trent is a role model that all young kids can look up to.”
Hodkinson said his initiative was a way to honour what the sick kids were required to endure.
“The main reason why I do it is to lift their spirits,” he said.
“What they’re going through is pretty tough. And it puts it all in perspective when we think we’re having a tough day and you come in here and see what the kids go through...”
Jacinta’s meeting with Hodkinson comes at the 12-month anniversary of her diagnosis with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
“Treatment wise, Jacinta now only has to go to the hospital every month for intrathecal chemo (lumbar punctures) and IV chemo,” Mrs Gomez said.
“Her positive attitude rarely falters, though. She continues to be upbeat and strong, and worries about the rest of the family more than herself.”
Jacinta was the catalyst for last year’s Cupcakes for Kids with Cancer initiative. What started out as a small local fundraiser took off, and raised $16,050 for John Hunter Children’s Hospital.
The fund-raiser is on again now.
May is “cupcakes season” and this Friday, May 26, many schools in the Westlakes Shores Learning Alliance will host their Cupcakes for Kids with Cancer events.
Her positive attitude rarely falters.- Kirsten Gomez