Trib­utes flow for coura­geous coach Karl

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ALANNAH GREEN­WOOD

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.

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