RICHARD Moore’s life was rocked four weeks ago by the news his son had been diagnosed with leukaemia.
The 29-year-old was hoping to see his partner and son join him in North Wales having made the move from Wakefield, but that has been put on hold as a result of Harrison’s illness.
At 6ft 2in and 17 stone, Moore is an imposing figure and a feared opponent for fellow Super League props.
But he admits two-year-old Harrison’s illness has knocked him for six.
“He is doing alright,” he explained. “He has been having intense chemotherapy for the last four weeks and this Sunday he has just come out so hopefully he will be a bit more settled at home.
“Hopefully without any further infections he should just be going into hospital three or four times a week.
“If he picks up any infections then he will have to go back into hospital in isolation and they will treat him from there.
“It’s sad. It knocked me for six.”
Moore continued: “They want me to be here but it is hard because they are not down here living with me. They are based in Dewsbury. Hopefully it won’t be too much of a distraction. I have something in my mind which is to have a good season, not only for myself but for Harrison.
“He is going to be in my mind a lot and I just want to make him proud of me every game. If I don’t do that then I will feel as though I have let him down.”
The latest setback for Moore has come as a huge blow to a man battling his own severe illness.
The former Bradford and Wakefield prop was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease two years ago – an inflammatory disease of the digestive system that can cause abdominal pain and weight loss.
And Moore is all too aware the illness can resurface at any moment.
“My Crohn’s disease is under control at the minute,” he said. “Usually I have two flare-ups a year but I am doing pretty well.
“It is under control and my eating is good. I feel fit and strong and everything is heading in the right direction.”
Moore, who readily admits his illness is nothing compared to that of his son, fears a relapse were he to return to the family home in Yorkshire.
He said: “Compared to what Harrison has got it is nothing.
“He is a lot worse but if I had stayed up there worrying about him all the time I would probably have ended up poorly as well. It was good for me to take my mind
off it and come here, but he is doing well.”
In order to take his mind off what was happening at home, the Crusaders ace – tipped by Iestyn Harris for an international call-up at the end of the season – threw himself into training
Moore played in pre-season friendlies against Widnes Vikings and Leeds Rhinos, although head coach Harris took some persuading.
“He asked me whether it was a bit too soon, and it was, but I felt I needed to.
“He said he didn’t want me to play but said I could if I wanted to.”
Moore spoke warmly about the support he has received from team-mates and fellow Super League players and coaches.
“Since I came all the lads have made me feel really welcome. I missed a bit of training but I needed to get back and just to be with the lads. They have made me feel so welcome here.
“With rugby it is such a family game. All the lads and even players from other teams have been phoning me up and they are gutted for me.
“People who you wouldn’t expect to say something have been ringing and it is great.”
The start of the season cannot come quickly enough for Moore, who makes his competitive debut for Crusaders at the Millennium Stadium against Salford City Reds on February 13.
To make the occasion even more memorable, Crusaders will warm-up in t-shirts supporting the Candlelight charity helping Moore and his family.
He added: “It’s so close here. Everybody can’t help me enough and that is great.
“I am just looking to repay everyone on the pitch.”
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