Brave George will light up London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay
GEORGE Stocker has been forced to overcome big challenges in the past few years but just as he thought his 2011 couldn't get any better – the 12-year-old was blown away by being selected to carry the London 2012 Olympic Torch.
RECOVERY: Rugby-mad George Stocker cannot wait to carry the Olympic Torch at London 2012
George was diagnosed with a brain tumour in April 2008 and forced to undergo 48 weeks of treatment which included operations, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
His passion is playing rugby and when George, who plays at hooker, was told he could return to the pitch in September 2009, he was delighted, even though he was advised to play two age-groups below the rest of his friends.
George made it his goal to get stronger and work his way back into the Wetherby under-13s side, which he accomplished two months ago, and he was astounded to learn it's earned him a starring role alongside the iconic Olympic flame at London 2012.
"I feel so happy to be selected to carry the torch," said George.
"I’m a big fan of all the Olympic sports and I’m really excited just to be involved in the Games.
"I have to thank all of my friends at school and at rugby who have got behind me and supported me.
"I love watching the Olympics, but I love the Paralympics even more. It’s great to see people competing in the Paralympic events and I’m especially a fan of the wheelchair rugby, and I've got tickets to see the wheelchair basketball next year.
"But being chosen to carry the torch makes it a great end to the year for me, because about two months ago I finally got back in my age-group’s rugby team.
"When I was first allowed to play rugby again, I had to play in the under-9s at first and then the more I got used to playing, I've worked my way to playing with others my own age.
"I’m really proud to be back because I had to work really hard, and it feels like I'm paying everyone back for their support."
George was also nominated for the prestigious role for his astounding fund-raising for Candlelighters cancer charity, for which he has now raised over £50,000.
Inspired by their aid when he was being treated at St James's Hospital in Leeds, the 12-year-old now arranges events to raise money for the charity, which provide research and awareness into children's cancer.
"When I was in the ward they helped me a lot and that’s what made me want to give something back," said George.
"There were a lot of other children more poorly than me so I wanted to help in any way I could.
"I began collecting at my sister Kelly's gigs when she was in a band, and then I starting doing sponsored walks, swims and auctions.
"This year's was the third annual walk and it’s really important to me to keep helping out."
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Sportsbeat (c) 2011