Australia

Ablett opens up on son’s health battle

Ahead of her husband Gary Ablett’s 357th and final AFL match, Jordan Ablett has opened up about the challenges the family has endured throughout a tumultuous 2020.

In July, the Ablett family revealed their son Levi had been diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease. Jordan’s mother Trudy was also battling lung cancer at the time, and tragically died in August.

With her husband in isolation with the Geelong Cats for a large portion of the year, Jordan conceded taking care of one-year-old Levi has been difficult, but incredibly rewarding.

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“It was really, really hard. Because the diagnosis came when Mum was towards the end of her journey ... we just had a lot of things happen all at once,” Jordan said on Channel 9.

“So yeah, we are in this together and it is what it is. And yeah, we are just taking it day by day.”

However, Levi remains an enthusiastic child, and is rarely seen without a smile.

“He’s doing well. He does have his challenges that we as a family are facing on a day-to-day basis,” Jordan said.

“But in saying that he’s so determined, and like you said, he’s just so smiley and has such a joy for life.”

After revealing he would retire after the 2020 premiership, Gary will close the final chapter of his AFL career at the Gabba on Saturday evening.

“We have always said that come post-footy we would definitely want to just go travel. But obviously that’s not happening any time soon,” Jordan said.

“I’m just looking forward to having him just be at home with us and just be fully present. It will be nice having him at home, making some good family memories together.”

Gary boasts a formidable career in the AFL, in which he became a two-time premier, two-time Brownlow medallist and eight-time All-Australian.

But Jordan would love to see her husband bow out of the AFL with one more premiership under his belt to ensure a fairytale farewell from the sport.

“Of course he’d love to sign-off on his career with another premiership, but I think just getting the opportunity to play in another Grand Final has meant so much to him already and to all of us who love him,” Jordan told The Herald Sun.

“(It’s) so special and I am just so thankful that this is the way Gaz gets to hang up his boots. He absolutely deserves this kind of ending. It is sad that our families can’t be physically here with us but in saying that, people have been unable to see their own families and even say goodbye to loved ones for a long time now which certainly keeps everything in perspective.

“Although it would have been nice to have our families join us for this moment, we’re just grateful that Levi and I are here and can attend the game on Saturday. Hopefully we can celebrate ‘something special’ with the family post-season.”

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Jordan recently signed on as an ambassador for My Room, an Australian charity which focuses on children’s cancer.

“This year just with everything that I’ve been through, you know, I have a son with his own health battles, and having lost my mum to cancer as well, I just can really relate to what the families are going through,” Jordan said on Channel 9.

“When I have been into the hospital wards and I’ve gone and visited the kids on the cancer ward, I’m just really inspired by just the away they handle themselves and their circumstances and I think that they have a great perspective on life.”

The AFL Grand Final will start at 7.30pm AEDT, with Geelong taking on the Richmond Tigers in Brisbane.

The biggest game on the AFL calendar is hanging in the balance, though, with damning forecasts set to wreak havoc on the 2020 Grand Final.

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