Perth Wildcats’ Greg Hire inspired by brave battle

during the round 16 NBL match between the Perth Wildcats and the Cairns Taipans at Perth Arena. Picture: Getty Images
during the round 16 NBL match between the Perth Wildcats and the Cairns Taipans at Perth Arena. Picture: Getty Images

WALKING around the shopping centres or around the city, we usually get recognised for being a Perth Wildcats player, either that or just for being a really tall individual.

But on one occasion, a young fan Josh (not his real name) knew me as the guy he beat in HORSE.

Josh is an 11-year old boy I met at a birthday party three years ago so it took me some time to recognise him.

When I first met him, his hair was shorter, the result of a series of chemotherapy treatments.

Josh was the centre of attention that day, it was his birthday party and a much-needed relief from his cancer treatment.

Like every kid’s party there was plenty of happiness.

I had no trouble mingling with the young kids, it was right down my alley and I ended up growing fond of Josh.

We started out talking Wildcats history; he showed his knowledge by reeling off some stats, telling me my shooting could improve and that his favourite player was Damian Martin… no surprise.

I was invited to visit Josh at PMH to lift his spirits and I was nervous, I hadn’t seen him for a while.

As I arrived, there were a few doctors and nurses and some family members – everyone was talking amongst themselves.

The conversations turned to his health and Josh overheard someone asking how he was doing.

He had undergone a series of chemotherapy treatments and the doctors determined he was clear of the disease.

It was great news, he wanted to become a ‘normal kid’.

But, recently, something didn’t look right during a routine check-up and they had ordered a biopsy.

He knew people were talking about him and he calmly said ‘I’m going to take this head-on’.

I could hear the courage in his voice. Everyone could.

Today, he’s doing well.

We are about to head into the last stage of our season, and I’ve heard people talk about courage and heroes and resilience in these circumstances.

We’ve all heard that kind of thing.

I’d like to use these characteristics to describe Josh, but the words aren’t nearly enough.

They feel inadequate to describe what he and other kids facing cancer have to go through, not just physically but emotionally.

What I saw in the hospital was an 11-year old boy who was standing tall in an adult world.

Josh showed me that maturity and bravery is not exclusive to adults.

Kids may be smaller than we are, but they’re stronger than we give them credit for.

They are the heroes, as well as the doctors and nurses.

Lessons of humility were apparent that day, I can’t help think how lucky some of us are and what we can all learn from Josh.