Broncos' star helps brighten day for Josh
Rockhampton rugby league player Josh Hatfield has no doubt that North Queensland Cowboys superstar Johnathan Thurston is the number one player in the game.
But Brisbane Broncos fullback Darius Boyd might now run a close second after he paid a welcome visit to the 10-year-old at the Lady Cilento Hospital on Thursday.
Josh is undergoing chemotherapy at the Brisbane hospital after being diagnosed with brain cancer in July.
The first of the four rounds of treatment had taken a toll on the schoolboy who was feeling pretty down when the Broncos' star made a surprise visit to his hospital room.
"Josh was feeling quite sick and it wasn't a great day for him," mum Rebecca Lambert said. "Darius's visit really lifted his spirits and seeing the smile on his face... it was just brilliant.
"Darius was wonderful, absolutely wonderful. He spent about 45 minutes with Josh. He was very interested to know how he was feeling and how his treatment was going.
"He was really supportive and encouraged both of us to stay strong and to be positive.
"Josh is a big Johnathan Thurston fan but he was excited to see Darius. He was really happy and of course they had a chat about rugby league."
Darius presented Josh with one of his Kangaroos training shirts which he had signed and also invited Josh to attend the Broncos home game against the Cowboys in March.
"We can't thank Amanda enough; we're very grateful for what she did to make this happen," she said.
Rebecca said Josh continued to amaze her with his strength and determination.
Just a week into the first round of chemo he had to be hospitalised and placed on IV antibiotics after developing a fever. He then had to have a platelet and a blood transfusion when his platelet and haemoglobin levels dropped too low.
"Even when he was quite sick, he showed incredible strength to push through the first round of chemo and come out okay," Rebecca said.
Josh will start his next cycle of chemo on December 20 and, all going well, won't be in hospital for Christmas.
The Rockhampton community, led by Josh's football club the Rockhampton Tigers, has rallied behind Josh and his family in the wake of the cancer diagnosis.
A dinner held at Rockhampton restaurant Guzman Y Gomez raised more than $2000 which will go towards a holiday for Josh when he is able to enjoy it.