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Young Welsh rugby player gets all clear from cancer and heads straight to training

A teenage Welsh rugby player has been given the all clear from cancer.

Ebbw Vale RFC Youth player Ryan Jones, 17, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma back in May, but last week he was given the emotional news by doctors he is in remission.

You may remember back in May, we covered a story on a charity match that took place to help support Ryan's family after his diagnosis.

Damien Jenkins, who is a volunteer and close friend of Ryan, has been heavily involved with helping the teenager. He presented him with the club's prestigious Man of Steel award earlier this year.

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"The boy's been a bloody warrior," Damien said.

"He turned up late to the trophy presentation because he wasn't comfortable. He still wasn't with himself - I mean he's completely changed now.

"He wasn't dealing well with the treatment making him lose all his hair. He was there for the trophy presentation at the end, and I promised him I wouldn't embarrass him.

"I presented him with The Man Of Steel award and there wasn't a dry eye in the house."

Presentation evening (left to right): Ryan Jones Damien Jenkins and Brandon Williams. (Damien Jenkins)

Ryan has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment, which lasted from early June to the end of August. During the summer heatwave he became unwell, and needed to be brought into hospital where he was kept for two days. The teen became very dehydrated and unfortunately picked up an infection, with chemotherapy making him susceptible to other illnesses.

"He has been a beast all the way through it, he has been extraordinary," explained Damien.

Since coming out of hospital after going through that ordeal, Ryan's situation continued to improve. He has been a regular at rugby training with Ebbw Vale, watching his mates run through drills, despite everything going on in his life.

Ryan's team-mates have been supporting him ever since the diagnosis. When he first started to lose his hair, they all shaved their heads at the rugby club to show him he wasn't on his own.

Now, Ryan, family and friends have got the news they'd been dreaming of.

Damien said: "I came to the office at 10am and I have a text off Ryan - 'Just had good news, doctor phoned, got the all clear'.

"My eyes filled up and I walked out the office to ring him. I ring him but the two of us can't talk! The two of us are properly blubbering."

Damien was then video-called by Alwyn, Ryan's dad, who was in tears after getting the news in his hospital bed following a big operation of his own. Ryan's brother Dafydd had to be sent home from work due to the overwhelming emotion.

One of Ryan's most significant moments so far was getting his PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) removed, which was implemented to assist with the admission of chemotherapy.

Ryan couldn't wait to get the PICC line out all the way through the treatment, and now it has been removed, it's a landmark step towards better health for the Ebbw Vale scrum-half.

Incredibly, he has been taking part in training sessions, doing non-physical run-throughs, but last Thursday night was his first training session back, and he is absolutely raring to go on the rugby front.

Throughout his treatment, Ryan stayed involved with the team (Curtis Thomas Photography via Damien Jenkins)

"I was on the phone to his mum and could hear Ryan in the background saying 'get that number nine top ready, I'm back!'" Damien added.

The likes of Byron Hayward and Jonathan 'Jiffy' Davies have shown their support for Ryan, and have been in contact with Damien since the news broke.

All the way through his treatment, Ryan has been gutted to miss out on his rugby, and now his time has come, it is one sweet moment to savour for the young man.

"He's a pain in the ar*e, he's a royal pain in the ar*e," Damien laughed. "If I could let him play Saturday, he would! He's still got a long way to go to get himself back fit and stronger, but he'll do that. You know what, I'm his first aider and his best friend - he will be playing this year."

Ryan has even been pushing some of the other boys to come to training, saying if he can do it, so can they. "He's like - 'boys, I'm here, why aren't you here?' with emotional blackmail - he's brilliant!" joked Damien.

Ryan leaving Heath Hospital last Thursday after getting his PICC line removed (Damien Jenkins)

After finally getting his PICC line removed, draped head to toe in Ebbw Vale stash, Ryan took part in an hour session with his team-mates that evening.

It's an incredible attitude from an inspiring young man. Ryan, his family and friends have been on one arduous journey, and thankfully now can look towards a brighter future.

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