He’s a tough little footballer who shows plenty of fight on the field, but right now, 11-year-old Bay Tigers’ player Eli Chatfield needs a hand.
And when one of their own is in trouble, members of the Batemans Bay sporting community have shown time and again they are all on the same side.
The young player is fighting brain cancer in Sydney Children’s Hospital with his mother at his bedside.
This family knows only too well the devastation of cancer. Eli lost his father to the disease last year.
The little boy, who loves his sport and his family, was running around like any other active kid up until a few weeks ago.
Eli, his mother Sarah and brother Tremaine were told at Canberra hospital that Eli required urgent surgery to remove a tumour on the base of his brain above the brain stem.
He was rushed to Sydney Children's Hospital where they removed most of the tumour, but unfortunately they could not remove a small amount in the brain stem.
Scans showed patches have infiltrated Eli’s spine with pathology showing a medulloblastoma.
Eli’s medical team are confident they will remove this with aggressive radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Back home, the Bay Junior Tigers have started a massive campaign to raise money to support the family.
Eli's mum needs to be with him in Sydney so cannot work at the moment, and his treatment and recovery will likely take months.
News of Eli’s plight has spread fast through a gofundme page and a facebook page Fighting for Eli set up by the Bay Tigers Junior Football Club.
Eli even received a shout out on national TV from Freddie Fittler during the Broncos v Wests Tigers game in round 11 last weekend.
Fittler, who was wearing the symbolic beanie, said the Batemans Bay Tigers were sending a shout out to Eli, who was “a mad Tigers fan and a mad David Nofoaluma fan”, saying Nofoaluma’s try was a good omen.
Closer to home, his many friends among the Bay Tigers also donned beanies during this weekend’s matches to show their support.
For further information on how you an help, contact our fundraising group at Bay Tigers Jeff Cox (treasurer) Nathan Forrest (President), Shani Briggs, Belinda Forrest, Rachael Rogan and Belinda Whiteman.