Jamie has reasons to come home

WHILE NRL star Jamie Simpson loves coming home to visit family and share his inspirational story with young students, there's an even better reason to return now.

The 23-year-old has found love back in his home town of Rockhampton.

Jamie met his girlfriend, Shelby Geddes, 18, last year in Brisbane.

The following day they happened to both be at the Brisbane Airport flying back to Rockhampton.

They've been together for more than a year now, so the South Sydney Rabbitohs player uses every opportunity he gets to come home.

But when he's home it's not all about staying at home, Jamie is a patron for the Red Cross and has been showing his support for a world-first dedicated lymphoma awareness centre, which was launched this month.

Jamie was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2002 after discovering a lump in his groin.

He started his first round of chemotherapy at Rockhampton Hospital.

Halfway through treatment he was pleased to hear he was given the all-clear, but three months later he relapsed.

He had a stem cell transplant and spent his 17th birthday in a Brisbane Hospital recovering for one month.

This will be Jamie's sixth year in remission.

Despite the setback of cancer, Jamie always knew he wanted to be a football star.

“It was kind of my driving force behind my recovering,” he told The Morning Bulletin last week.

It didn't take him too long to be chosen to play for Queensland and then he was snapped up by the Rabbitohs.

“It's definitely a dream job,” he said.

“They say the average life of a football player is 25 games and I just played my 26th, so fingers crossed.”

Jamie said once his football career came to a standstill he would turn to full-time charity and mentoring work.

On his latest trip to Rockhampton he spoke to young children at Gracemere State School and Park Avenue State School.

But Jamie returns to Sydney this week to start back at pre- season training.

The lymphoma awareness centre aims to raise awareness for lymphoma through a cutting-edge, innovative virtual education centre which is supported by Lymphoma Australia and Leukaemia Foundation.

Lymphoma research
• Lymphoma is the most common type of blood cancer
• One in five Australians (20%) do not know what lymphoma is and of the people who know it is a cancer, a third (33%) are unable to define what type of cancer
• More Australians are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma than Hodgkin's lymphoma, yet only one in 10 (9%) know the difference between these two cancers
• Nine out of 10 people (89%) don't realise how exactly how common lymphoma is within the general population
• Less than 20% of people are able to list at least one common symptom of lymphoma The driving force behind my recovering

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