Swans sup­port team-mate in cancer bat­tle

South Wales Evening Post - - LETTERS - AN­DREW GWILYM @awg­wilym • 01792 545558 an­drew.gwilym@me­di­awales.co.uk

SWANSEA City play­ers and staff have ral­lied round young mid­fielder Jack Evans fol­low­ing his di­ag­no­sis with cancer dur­ing the sum­mer.

The first-team squad donated a five-fig­ure sum to a Just­giv­ing page as a show of sup­port for the Wales Un­der-21 in­ter­na­tional and his fam­ily.

The money has been donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust af­ter Evans’ brother Cameron, sis­ter Re­becca and their friends Kieran Richards and Jor­dan Jones all com­pleted the Cardiff Half Marathon to raise funds for the char­ity at the start of Oc­to­ber.

It is un­der­stood some of the money pledged came from a fines sys­tem the first-team squad had ad­hered to last sea­son, with new sign­ings and play­ers pro­moted to the se­nior set-up adding to the to­tal be­fore the fi­nal do­na­tion was made.

“I know the play­ers were af­fected by the news of Jack, and it puts things in per­spec­tive and they want to sup­port that,” said man­ager Gra­ham Pot­ter.

“My view of the group is that they want to help each other, they en­joy each other’s suc­cesses and em­pathise with their dif­fi­cul­ties.

“No-one looks at some­one else do­ing well and thinks ‘that’s bad news be­cause now I am out of the team’ and that cre­ates a dif­fer­ent feel.

“That is a lot to do with what the play­ers have come through to­gether and once you have a group of de­cent peo­ple then when things like that hap­pen there is a nat­u­ral re­sponse be­cause of their to­geth­er­ness and char­ac­ter.

“We have made a con­scious ef­fort to try to avoid the stereo­type that foot­ballers can get cast in.

“Peo­ple talk about phi­los­o­phy and val­ues, and where this club is in the com­mu­nity we need to be good peo­ple.

“You look at guys like Con­nor Roberts, Joe Rodon and Dan James, they are role mod­els as pro­fes­sion­als and peo­ple.

“That says so much about the academy and the club, the peo­ple it has pro­duced.”

Club cap­tain Leroy Fer was among those to help pull to­gether the re­sources to pro­vide sup­port to the Evans fam­ily at a chal­leng­ing time, with the Dutch­man post­ing a heart­felt mes­sage to them at the time of the do­na­tion.

And the mid­fielder says the squad and ev­ery­one at the club has Evans firmly in their thoughts as they wish him a full and speedy re­cov­ery.

“We were all deeply af­fected by Jack’s news, but one thing we wanted to en­sure is that he has the sup­port of ev­ery­one at this club,” said Fer. “We are not just foot­ballers and team­mates, we are hu­man be­ings and friends.

“Swansea City rep­re­sents far more than just a foot­ball club – we are like one big fam­ily in this com­mu­nity, and we stand by each other through thick and thin.

“Jack is a re­ally nice guy and he has been a player that has led by ex­am­ple on and off the pitch for our un­der-23s side and for Wales Un­der-21s.

“The money con­tributed comes from not only cur­rent squad mem­bers but past play­ers too, and that says a lot about what ev­ery­one thinks of Jack.

“He’s al­ways in our thoughts and we all wish him a speedy re­cov­ery.”

Evans, now 20, has been with the Swansea academy since the age of eight and has worked his way up along­side the likes of Joe Rodon.

And academy man­ager Nigel Rees hopes it will not be too long be­fore the lo­cal prod­uct, who had looked set to skip­per the un­der-23s this sea­son, is back out on the pitch in Swansea colours.

“Ev­ery­one at Swansea City and in the academy wishes Jack noth­ing but the best and wishes him a speedy re­cov­ery,” said Rees. “We very much look for­ward to him work­ing his way back to full health and he and his fam­ily are al­ways in our thoughts.”

Pic­ture: Chris Fair­weather/huw Evans Agency

Jack Evans plays for Swansea City Un­der-23s.

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