The Lad Who Beat Cancer To Become The Face Of Amputee Football

Jamie Tregaskiss' footballing dream looked to have ended in cruel fashion at the age of 13.

A promising player who was on the books of Manchester City, who snapped him up after seeing him tearing it up for his local team, Hattersley FC, he felt pain in his left leg after a game but thought it was just a standard football knock.

It wasn't. After he began to suffer from tiredness and extreme weight loss, his Mum, Mandy, took him for a CT scan and then the worst happened.

The biopsy uncovered that "shadows on his pelvis" were in fact a rare form of bone cancer. According to The Telegraph, on average a mere 30 young people in Britain are affected by it.

Not only did Jamie have to go through an intense three-month course of chemotherapy, it then transpired that the only way to get rid of this large tumour, and prevent the cancer from returning, was for him to have his leg amputated.

At the time, being so young, he didn't understand the severity of the illness, but it hit him hard when he found out he would lose his leg.

"I was only 13 so I didn't fully understand what cancer was," he told SPORTbible.

"I was just happy I had time off school, haha! When I got told I had to lose my leg the only thing on my mind was whether I'd be able to kick a football again. I thought my dream was over."

While the operation meant Jamie's aspirations of becoming a professional footballer were indeed over, he found out about amputee football and took to it in next-to-no-time - his passion for the game not waning in the slightest.

"During my cancer treatment I was introduced to my current team-mate Martin Heald. He told me all about amputee football and it gave me a huge boost to get better as quick as possible because I couldn't wait to start playing football again.

"My love for football never left. I just remained driven and motivated throughout. I never once backed down from a challenge which is why I adapted to amputee football so well."

Initially, Jamie was playing for the Manchester amputee football team but the involvement of Manchester City, through their 'City in the Community' scheme, has really taken the game to new heights in these shores.

Thanks to them, he is able to train on the same pitches that are graced by Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and the rest of Pep Guardiola's title-winners at the state-of-the-art £200 million facilities.

"Manchester City have done so much for amputee football," he declared.

"Having the opportunity to train in the same facilities as the first team is a phenomenal opportunity for which I am extremely grateful for.

"It is such an honour representing such an amazing football club."

Jamie has reason to see himself as a professional footballer. In addition to playing for City on a regular basis, the 23-year old represented England in last year's European championships in Turkey.

The Three Lions reached the final, meaning Jamie had the pleasure of playing in front of 40,000 fans at Besiktas' Stadium.

He will also be going to the Amputee World Cup, hosted by Mexico, in October.

With 26,000 followers on his Instagram page, Tregaskiss is comfortably the most recognisable amputee footballer in addition to being one of the very best in the business.

Yet, when asked how that feels, he is typically modest.

"It is an absolute honour to be known as one of the best amputee footballers but there are so many talented amputee footballers out there, especially in the England amputee football team!

"I post videos to inspire individuals to not give up on their dream and raise awareness for amputee football."

Jamie's ultimate goal is to continue to grow amputee football to the point where the FA provide funding for the England team. Here's hoping that day comes around very soon.

He is an inspiration in every sense of the word and serves as a reminder that you should never give up even if the odds are stacked against you.

Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He loves a Meatball Marinara from Subway on a Friday.

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