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Somerset players rally around Pathway player

Players and coaches at SCCC have been rallying around a young Pathway player who is determined to help other people after being diagnosed with cancer.

Under 11 player, Jayden Cruickshank was recently diagnosed with ALCL (Anaplastic Large T Cell Lymphoma), a type of Non–Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It is aa rare cancer that affects less than 200 people a year in the UK (10 children) and 100 children a year in Europe.

A keen young sportsman, following his diagnosis Jayden’s life changed almost overnight. From training with the Somerset Pathway and North Curry Youth CC, playing rugby for Taunton Eagles U11s, football for Galmington Dragons, and working at his grading for a Taekwondo black belt, he is now restricted to a single room for a minimum of five days at a time as he receives his chemotherapy treatment.

Since it was revealed that Jayden had cancer, he has been inundated with well wishes, signed shirts and video messages from members of the Somerset and England squads, as well as from Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, and Sophie Luff.

In addition to this, Marchant de Lange and Sonny Baker recently spent the afternoon at Jayden’s home.

At the recent pre-season fixture against Gloucestershire Jayden was given a tour of the Marcus Trescothick Pavilion by Tom Abell before watching the afternoon session from the players balcony.

Boyd Cruickshank, Jayden’s father, is incredibly proud of how his son is handling the situation and has been blown away by the level of support that Jayden has received. “The initial diagnosis hit him pretty hard, but his response has been amazing,” he explained. “He’s accepted everything, from his hair falling out through to the illness following the chemotherapy cycles.

“We are so proud of his attitude and his desire to help others in similar situations. It was his idea to set up a Go Fund Me page in order to help other people. His outlook has been amazing, and he is always thinking about other people.

“Obviously, we didn’t know what to expect, but all of a sudden you are contacted by a number of different charities and unless you have been through this process, you wouldn’t necessarily know that these charities existed. That caught us a little off guard, and these are the charities that he wants to help.

“The players and staff at Somerset have really taken him under their wing. I know that the Club do a lot in the community, but they’ve been absolutely amazing. We’ve got messages coming through all the time and when we popped to the ground recently several players came straight over to him, and Tom Abell showed him around the ground. They’ve all been absolutely amazing.

“To have Marchant and Sonny come to visit him at home was fantastic. They are both real characters and genuinely nice guys. Jayden was initially a bit nervous about what to say to them, but they both made it so easy for him. Having them come around and spend a bit of time with him and encourage him was incredible and he had a great time. They enabled him to just be himself and made him feel like a real part of the team.

“We’ve all been amazed by people’s generosity. We’ve been blown away by how many people have been in contact and by how many people have donated. The support that we have received has been astonishing.

“We can’t thank everyone enough for the love and support that we have received over the last few weeks. It’s been genuinely moving to have received so much backing and encouragement. Thank you to everyone who has been in touch.”

Somerset Head Coach, Jason Kerr said: “As soon as we heard what had happened, as a collective group we wanted to do whatever we could to support Jayden and his family. He is an incredible young man, and we have all been very impressed with his attitude to what is happening and his determination to make the best of the situation.

“He is a genuine inspiration, and we will continue to do whatever we can to support his family and make him feel a part of the team.”

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