Tributes flow for courageous coach Karl
Rutherglen sporting identity Karl Jacka passed away on Saturday, January 28 following a seven month battle with a rare form of stomach cancer, aged 35.
Social media was flooded with tributes offering messages of support and recounts of special moments spent with the loveable larrikin as news of his passing swept through the community.
Friends and former team mates paid tribute to Jacka by hanging up football jumpers and posting pictures online.
A natural leader, Jacka was destined to achieve great things and that he undoubtedly did.
His ability to inspire and encourage not only those on the sporting field but in the communities he spent time in over the years left an admirable legacy.
The Rutherglen Football Club coach was courageous throughout his fight against stomach cancer after being diagnosed in July last year.
Karl spoke to the Free Press following his diagnosis and relayed the importance of getting yourself checked if “something doesn’t feel right”.
“It was really confronting hearing that you have cancer,” he said.
“But I am a numbers guy, a solutions guy and I went from having zero chance to 50-50 meaning cure, containment of remission. “I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.” Karl’s wife Cristy and daughter Lucy were undoubtedly the driving force behind Karl’s fight and they were generous in sharing their journey in the hope of making others more aware of their own health.
Team Jacka contributed an astonishing $65,000 to the more than $400,000 raised at the Border Relay for Life in October last year.
Rutherglen Football Club thanked Karl for his commitment to their club via their Facebook page.
“Thanks for making us a better club and bringing so much enjoyment to so many people. Rest in peace Karl.”
At the Rutherglen Cat’s Presentation night held in September last year there was not a dry eye in the room as Karl thanked his club “for keeping him going” and his family for their support.
“To my mum and dad, I’ve always been a bit of a mumma’s boy you know and their support has never wavered,” Karl said.
“Even when I was coaching Balranald mum and dad would do an 800km round trip just to listen to me coach.
“They’ve always supported me and I know I have given them a little bit to worry about lately which has made them go to the next level of crazy but in all honesty I can’t thank mum and dad enough for their support for me and Cristy and Lucy.”
Jacka personally thanked the club for providing such a comforting environment especially to his wife Cristy and daughter Lucy.
“I don’t say thanks enough to a lot of people but I want to take this opportunity to thank the netball girls from the bottom of my heart for creating a welcoming environment to my family and particularly Lucy,” he said.
“Lastly but most importantly to my players from the bottom tier to the top tier, the ones that have taken on so much this season and drove something that at times really seemed un-drivable, thank you.
“You guys are amazing and you are all my energy on so many different levels, you constantly make me smile and see the good in really bad situations – you guys give me so much strength, it’s all for you.”
Family and friends are invited to attend a celebration of Karl’s life to be held at Lavington Sports Ground on Friday, February 3 starting at 10am.
Karl Jacka pictured with the loves of his life, wife Cristy and daughter Lucy.
Rutherglen Cat’s Coach Karl Jacka will be remembered by many as a passionate coach, friend and family man.