Levi’s fight inspires Grover
It’s not often Antoni Grover, one of the AFL’s meanest and toughest competitors, gets a little shaken.
But meeting seven-year-old Levi Tracy, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January, really got to the Freo defender.
Grover was on hand at Fremantle headquarters to have his head shaved in support of the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave, which he also participated in last year.
It’s a charity Grover has felt strongly about since one of his best mates passed away from Leukaemia in 2008.
He admitted that seeing a young child like Levi struggling left him feeling “emotional”.
“He’s just a little boy,” Grover said.
“He hasn’t asked to be in this situation but he’s got no other choice than to fight for his life.
“What can you say about that? It’s amazing.”
After losing his locks, Grover took Levi on a tour of the Fremantle facilities. He even bought him a pack of AFL trading cards because the two packs Levi had already bought from the Freo Team Store didn’t have any Freo players.
Luckily, the third pack revealed a couple of Fremantle cards.
Levi’s father, Mark Tracy, said his son’s diagnosis had changed the family’s lives.
“First of all it’s the shock and devastation,” he said.
“Then you pick up the pieces and move on as best you can.”
Tracy said even going to the footy to watch Levi’s beloved Freo play now had to be carefully planned.
“With his immune system being so low because of the chemotherapy, if someone’s got a cold within the immediate vicinity, it can kill him if he gets sick enough.”
Tracy was grateful to Grover, the Fremantle Football Club and the Leukaemia Foundation for giving Levi a “first-rate” experience.
“To get access to this event and go through the club rooms is an experience we’ll never forget,” he said.
“It’s been huge for us.”
Grover said Levi and his family’s battle was a reminder about the fragility of life.
“The strength Levi shows is an inspiration,” he said.
“And the support that his family gives him is just incredible.
“It hits home that we’re only here playing a game of football. Sometimes you don’t realise how good you’ve got it until you see how hard someone else is doing it.”