A Rugby League fan who beat life-threatening cancer will carry the ball onto the pitch this Friday for Leigh Centurions’ first home game of the season.
Riley Agent, from Leigh, was chosen for the honour after Centurions’ owner Derek Beaumont heard Riley’s story from his mum Pam’s employers at Leigh firm Astley Hire, the company that is sponsoring the ball for the Centurions’ landmark clash against Leeds Rhinos.
Riley was diagnosed with an aggressive form of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma stage 4s when he was just ten days old, in November 2011, after he was taken into hospital and doctors discovered a tumour on his liver.
It was the discovery of that tumour which ultimately saved his life, as further tests revealed the neuroblastoma, a tumour which forms on the adrenal gland and is often undetected until it is too large to treat.
It will be a double celebration for Riley, a pupil at Glazebury C of E primary school, as just before his fifth birthday he was finally given the news that doctors are confident his cancer will not return.
“He’s rugby mad, so this is a real dream come true,” said Pam.
“We’ve followed the Centurions for years, it was great when they got promoted. He loves watching them with his granddad, but he’s never seen them play at Leigh Sports Village.
“We couldn’t believe it when the Centurions said he could carry the ball on to the pitch. It’s such an honour. He’s a bit nervous but mainly excited. He’s going to love it on the day!”
Riley will follow the players, mascots and a special guard of honour through the tunnel and onto the pitch just before kick-off at 8pm, on Friday February 17. The game will be televised live on Sky Sports.
“Hearing about Riley made the hairs on my neck stand up,” said Derek Beaumont.
“It was a refreshing change to hear such an inspiring story about a child that wins through.
“We’re delighted to give this fine young man the proud moment and experience of carrying the ball to the centre circle to mark our first home game live on Sky TV.
“I hope his victory in such difficult circumstances inspires our boys on to victory.”