THOUSANDS of football fans are set to chant the name of an inspirational teenage cancer patient who has raised more than £28,000 for charity in just a few days.
Jak Trueman, of West Calder, has battled a very rare form of blood cancer – known as Gammadelta T-cell lymphoma – since August, but he was told this week that his condition is untreatable.
The community has rallied round the football-mad teen with an extraordinary outpouring of generosity and donations to his appeal for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research charity.
So many donations and letters have been posted through the door of his home that his mum Alison Barr has not been able to read them all.
The lifelong Rangers fan is set to be honoured in tomorrow’s Glasgow derby with fans of both sides set to shout “There’s only one Jak Trueman” during the 20th minute.
Derek Adams, chairman of Jak’s former team Mid Calder Colts, said: “We are trying to get a chant out there for Jak and I have been contacting supporters groups. The response has been fantastic and we are hopeful it is going to go ahead.”
Players including Celtic legend Frank McAvennie, Hearts goalie Neil Alexander and former Rangers players Nacho Novo and Charlie Miller have also offered to play in a charity football match in the 15-year-old’s honour at Livingston’s stadium on February 8.
Fellow West Calder High School pupils Lauren Girdwood and Erin Crichton came up with the idea for the game between the school and his former team, which will be known as the Jak Trueman Challenge Cup.
Livingston FC has offered the use of their stadium for free, to accommodate hundreds of Jak’s friends and family.
Alan Porter, coach at Mid Calder Colts, said: “The whole of the community is behind this. He’s an amazing person as what he is going through is horrendous but he always has time for other people. It’s a rare thing.
“If we could see that West Stand full then that would be about 1400 people. It would be quite something.”
Former striker McAvennie has already started hitting the gym to prepare for the game.
He said: “I’ve got a few boys along from the Old Firm. It’s good to help out with things like this. There’s another week and a bit to go so I am sure we can get a few more people along. For me I am just giving up my afternoon but it might help this lad and his family.”
The Rangers Charity Foundation has pledged a donation of £500 to a foundation the family are hoping to set up in Jak’s name and has invited him to meet the players.
A spokesman said: “On behalf of everyone at Rangers I would like to send our very best wishes to Jak and his family.”
Friends and teachers organised a prom in just five days to be held at Livingston’s stadium today, with Jak and his girlfriend Hannah Boyd set to be crowned prom king and queen.
Jak’s mum Alison said: “It means the world to him what all these people are doing for him. He’s been blown away, gobsmacked and over the moon. We are just hoping he is going to make it through.
“He’s very, very weak at the moment. But he is full of determination to go to the prom and the match tomorrow.
“Jak is overwhelmed. Rangers have been his life since he was a tiny boy and to know all these players and fans are doing this is amazing.”
The Jak Trueman Challenge Cup will kick off at 2pm on Sunday, February 8. Tickets will be on sale on the gate.
The proceeds will be split between CLIC Sargent, the Sick Kids Friends Foundation and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. To make a donation to Jak’s appeal visit www.justgiving.com/AM-Barr.