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Harvard ruggers raise hope in cancer battle

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Members of the Rosarac Rotary Club with Harvard Club rugby section at the Children with Cancer Christmas treat on Sunday.

Shakera Robinson, who has battled and beat cancer, and has been a survivor for nine years made a remark on Sunday. She said, “Rugby is a tough sport and cancer is a tough sickness. We were even stronger to beat cancer, and it feels good.” Her words drew an applause from fellow cancer survivors around her.

Harvard Sports Club was a buzz on Sunday with children running around, some playing with the animals on display, while others learned the sport of rugby in a miniature version. The club saw an opportunity arise to host a Christmas treat for children with cancer and they grabbed it.

Wayne Kelly, who is a player for Harvard men’s team, and also one of the organisers said, “We realise that being a staple in the community, we have a responsibility to give back to the community as well as make an impact, so we’re using this opportunity to do that.”

Over 100 children, some with special needs, others battling different forms of cancer attended the event. It really was for them. Just after 1:30pm, Santa Claus drove into the venue via a Fire Service truck.

Immediately, children surrounded him with hugs and cheers. He walked with a bag of gifts, distributing presents to scores of children.

The young ones, of course, was lost in the moment. However, Kelly and his team were busy pulling the strings to ensure the event came off smoothly. Harvard saw a deeper meaning as to why they did it. “Well for us, this is about getting the word out there that there is always something that you can do. It may not be big but any little effort is appreciated so we are hoping that everybody jumps on board and do their best too,” the 2006 rugby player of the year said.

In the midst of all the laughs and fun, Harvard was trying to send a serious message to all those involved. Among those helping with proceedings on the day was T&T Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis.

Having cancer survivors like Robinson at the event was also a way of helping the children gain confidence in their battle. Robinson went further, “Today is a big accomplishment for me. Having survived cancer for nine years, because I was four years when I had it, I have to be here to share hope with the other children to show them that they could survive too if they believe.”

Buoyed by the success of this year’s event, Harvard is now hoping to do a similar treat next Christmas. Or perhaps many wishes will come true by then, and cancer will finally have a cure.


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