LION-HEARTED; Hard Times Mould the Young Man

The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia), March 31, 2018 | Go to article overview

LION-HEARTED; Hard Times Mould the Young Man


Byline: TERRY MALLINDER

AFL: Young Lion Jarrod Berry owes much of his strength of heart and dedication to succeed to his mother.

A hero in defeat for Brisbane last weekend, the 20-year-old endured a difficult upbringing in country Victoria.

He was forced to watch on helpless as mum Jedda battled cancer for nine years, often bed-ridden at home or in hospital, before her death in 2014.

Tragedy, though, only made Berry - and his brothers Joel and Thomas - stronger.

It wasn't skill alone that got Berry drafted to the Lions in 2016, but also a commitment to honour his mum through hard work.

"She was sick for a really long time," Berry recalled. "A lot of memories are tainted by her not being able to be as mobile.

"But she was always a massive supporter of us kids. She didn't leave anything behind. Her biggest legacy was us.

"I remember when she was pretty crook and in hospital she would text me at 6.30am each morning and tell me to get up and go do a session outside.

"I always got that reminder from her. She didn't want to see us throw away the talent that we had."

Jedda first discovered a lump in her breast in 2005. The cancer then spread to her bowel and ultimately her bones.

She would regularly have to travel from home in Horsham to Adelaide for treatment and even made a couple of trips to Germany. She lost her fight in July 2014.

Berry's thoughts are never far from his mum, especially during any pivotal moment in his life, such as being selected with pick 17 in the 2016 national draft.

"Anything that would make her proud," he said.

"You know she's looking over us. Hopefully I'm doing that."

Dad Troy has also been a rock for the three boys as they tried to focus on their burgeoning footy careers.

"My father's been the biggest motivator and support of me," Berry said.

"He's been massive. To be able to raise three young kids without mum ... he's sacrificed a lot.

"Now he's reaping the rewards. Helping us kids through school and now making our own pathway and making our own lives. I can't speak more highly of Dad."

Troy has attended most of his son's 17 AFL games. …

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