A Northampton boy has been selected to act as mascot for Northampton Saints at Twickenham after he inspired the team to victory against Leicester in the semi-final.
Luis Ghaut, from Northampton, suffers a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma. Shortly after finishing a long programme of chemotherapy, he was told last month that he had another tumour growing on his left lung.
Twelve-year-old Luis, who has played for Northampton Old Scouts RFC since he was six, has been unable to play rugby since having an operation to remove 15cm of his right fibula and peroneal nerve.
But the devoted rugby fan has never let his condition get in the way of supporting his favourite team and after some recent intensive treatment, Luis left Brompton Hospital in time to cheer on the Saints during their match against Bath earlier this month.
Luis had the chance to meet team players who all wore
T-shirts promoting Lu15, the charity set up by the Ghaut family to raise money for oesteosarcoma treatment, both before and after the match.
But while Luis and his family say it is the prospect of the Saints playing the Saracens at the Twickenham final in London this week that has helped him to make his quick recovery, the players say that Luis
is equally encouraging for them.
Saints’ flanker Tom Wood said: “Luis is an incredibly inspiring lad. He comes down here and we can inspire him, but it’s worked 10-fold in reverse and I’d just like to wish him well in what’s to come.
“Hopefully nights like the one we enjoyed against Leicester will give him the energy he needs in his recovery.
“Luis is one of our biggest fans and we’ve spent a fair bit of time with him; he’s come to training and everything else.
“He’s got a fund-raising website and Twitter page so any support people can give him would be appreciated.”
Lu15 has planned fundraising events throughout the summer as Luis undergoes further treatment. Visit lu15.co.uk or follow @lu15fundraising for more information on events and how to support the charity.
Mascot ‘is real emotional boost for us’
Saints players have saluted the galvinising effect that Luis Ghaut is having on dressing room atmosphere.
Lions and England forward, Alex Corbisiero, said: “The strength he shows is amazing. If I can be a part of helping him as much as he’s helped me, I’m always going to be there for him. It’s going to be a real privilege and emotional boost having him with us at the weekend. The belief and influence we have on him massively motivates us.”
Fellow Lion, George North, said: “With all the stuff that’s going on [in his life], having him with us behind the scenes is something special.
“It’s berserk for someone so young, to see what he’s been through and still want to be there for the boys. It is something the boys take a lot from really.”