When True Blue Mark Hughes heard the story of a young boy who underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour, he just knew he had to meet him.
Nate Seabrook, a Year Six student and lover of Rugby League had to miss an entire season of footy in 2018 to battle his health condition.
Now, having fully recovered after undergoing surgery, he has made a welcome return to the Cessnock Goannas where he has quickly rediscovered his passion for the game.
“Nate was down in confidence; he had a tumour removed and missed a full season of footy because of treatments,” Hughes told nswrl.com.au
“He had a fresh start at Cessnock Goannas football club who welcomes him with open arms.
“I decided it would be a good thing to go to his school and meet him, his family and friends and give him a bit of a boost.”
Hughes, who had a well-documented battle with brain cancer prompting him to set up the Mark Hughes Foundation, visited Nate at Braxton Public School to meet the little legend, his family and the friends that supported him through his tough time.
Hughes spoke to the students about the resilience shown by Nate during his recovery and the importance of playing sport with your mates.
“It’s a very big thing for a young fella to have, he’s gone through a lot and showed a lot of toughness to get through that,” Hughes said.
“It had knocked him round a little bit but playing Rugby league makes him feel better and takes his mind off it.
“For me, it’s awful seeing kids going through those things, as an adult I could handle it, but to see kids have to go through it is very tough.
“I think it was good because he met me – someone who’d been in something similar and gave him confidence and hope, knowing he can bounce back through life and get through anything.”
Hughes said the nature of camaraderie and sportsmanship in Rugby League was the cause for bringing back the spark in Nate.
“Rugby league was definitely a key for him to fight his way back with confidence in friendships and all those things that the sport offers,” Hughes said.