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Foran leaps in ‘boots’ and all to help colleague’s sick stepson

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In a stellar career, Kieran Foran’s won NRL premierships and even guided New Zealand to glory over the Kangaroos.

But, his brother Liam is definitely in a league of his own when it comes to helping others.

When the trainer, working at Hunter Valley Operations (HVO), heard colleague Jesse Hall’s 17-year-old stepson Hunter had been diagnosed with terminal stage 4 brain cancer, the older sibling knew he had to do something.

Liam Foran, Brett Jenkins, who won Kieran Foran’s autographed boots in the raffle, Jesse Hall and Brendon Williams.

Foran quickly contacted Kieran, along with the latter’s former Manly Sea Eagles halves partner Daly Cherry-Evans, to obtain some items for an employee raffle, which has since raised $5,357 for his fellow employee’s family.

The current Gold Coast Titan signed and donated the jersey, shorts and boots he wore in the Kiwis’ historic win, at the expense of Australia, in the 2023 Pacific Championship Cup.

Cherry-Evans also autographed the Kangaroos jumper he donned in the same fixture.

Foran, who’s spent the past handful of seasons in the Hunter Valley Group 21 and Newcastle Rugby League competitions, and Brendon Williams worked with HVO’s training team to coordinate the fundraiser.

“Jesse’s story really touched me,” the father-of-five said.

“I actually broke down in tears when I got home from work and told my wife (Kim) the news.

“It’s tragic for Jesse and the rest of the family.

“No parent should face what he’s going through.

“We wanted Jesse to have some funds to help ease the burden of expenses.

“To make sure Hunter and the family have a memorable Christmas together… and to know he had our thoughts and support.

“I’m really thankful to my brother and Daly for their generosity, especially as Kieran is grieving the tragic death of his own stepson.”

Tigers
Liam Foran. Photo: Rod Thompson

Foran admitted there was a good supportive culture at the mine.

“Lots of people know Jesse and generously got behind the raffle,” he said.

“It was great to see.

“Brain cancer is a terrible and underfunded disease.

“Our crews got behind the Mark Hughes Foundation by buying stickers for our hard hats.

“Mark then came to a training day to explain more about the disease, as well as his foundation’s work to fund research into better treatments and support for people and families experiencing it.

“However, to have one of our own impacted by brain cancer so soon after, it really hit home.”

A grateful Mr Hall worked as an operator and trainer at HVO’s South Mine for five years.

For the past three, he’s been a site representative and manager for a contracting company that provides services to the coal facility.

A quiet man, when presented with the funds at the raffle prize draw before the morning shift start, Mr Hall held back tears.

“The funds will be for Christmas and making memories,” he said.

“I am speechless with how everyone has rallied behind Hunter and the generosity of the people at HVO.”

Other people wishing to support the Hall family can do so via the go fund me page https://gofund.me/f2567b98

About 1,200 Australians die from brain cancer each year.

It is the leading cause of cancer death in children, and adults aged under 40 in Australia.

Survival rates have only increased by 1% in the past 30 years.

To support or access help from the Mark Hughes Foundation, visit markhughesfoundation.com.au.

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