A community rugby league match kicked off at the weekend showing that living with a stoma is no barrier to playing contact sport.
Chorley Panthers hosted Colostomy UK’s rugby league side at their Chisnall Lane ground, Coppull, on Saturday to combat the stigma attached to playing contact sport with a stoma.
Kav Ellison, a former Panthers star himself, was one of the driving forces behind the game after he himself had a stoma – an operation on the large intestines – in 2015 after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
Kav, who is an ambassador for Team Colostomy UK, said: “Everyone at Chorley knows about my situation with the illness, they understand it, so the game was about promoting the wider interest of the team. It’s about showing what is possible.”
Chorley Panthers’ rugby league royalty Josh Charnley, now at Super League’s Warrington Wolves, was one of the star attractions at the game, taking up one of the coaching roles in the community match.
Former Panthers star and current Widnes Vikings prop Owen Farnworth was also there and in the opposite coaching dug out to Charnley.
Vikings’ Anthony Gelling and Jamie Ellis, of Castleford Tigers, put in an appearance.
As did Chorley boxer Jack Catterall to show his support for the charity.
And for Kav, 28, the game was a fun one but with split loyalties, having started his rugby league days with the Panthers when 14-years-old.
He said the game was enjoyed by players and spectators alike.
“It couldn’t have gone any better,” said Kav, who now coaches the Panthers’ open age team.
“It spread awareness really well - it’s something we’re going to look at doing every year at Chorley with Team Colostomy UK. I’ve not got a final figure of how much we raised. I think we’ve raised quite a bit.”
A tombola, barbecue, raffle, and merchandise were among the attractions for the crowds.