Jake Jones wins Denbigh rugby award after illness recovery
A schoolboy left paralysed by illness has scooped a sporting award following a remarkable recovery.
Jake Jones, 14, was named junior player of the year by Denbigh Rugby Club three years after an illness left him needing to use a wheelchair for four months.
He had physiotherapy to learn to walk again after suffering from a disease of the brain and spinal cord in 2009.
He joined his local rugby club last year, as well as joining the North East Wales squad.
Specialists eventually diagnosed his condition as acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) which causes inflammation of the spinal cord.
Parents Medwyn and Delyth Jones said Jake had been feeling ill for weeks before waking one morning in January 2009 unable to move.
"He had no feeling in his lower body at all - they were running feathers over him to see if he could feel anything and there was just nothing," Mrs Jones, a mother-of-two told the Daily Post newspaper.
"We were asked if he had been bitten, if we lived near a forest, if we had been abroad.
"It was not clear to anyone what was wrong with Jake and we were absolutely beside ourselves with worry. It was horrendous."
After 10 days at Liverpool's Alder Hey children's hospital feeling started to return to his lower limbs.
Within three weeks he was allowed to go home, returning to hospital for physiotherapy and remained in a wheelchair for four months before eventually restarting school part-time later that summer.
Then last year Jake, who studies at Welsh medium Ysgol Glan Clwyd, St Asaph, Denbighshire, told his parents he wanted to take up rugby.
"At first we were really worried and thought it would be too risky given everything he has been through," said his mother.
"But he was determined to do it.
"When we heard he had been named player of the year, we were absolutely over the moon.
"He is so brave and we're so proud of him," she said.