Wigan Warriors today unveil a new charity shirt which will be worn in support of the Joining Jack charity at the final home game of the Super League season against St Helens on Friday 7th September.
The radical green, blue, white and red design takes inspiration from photographs of four-year-old Jack Johnson, the son of former Wigan player Andy Johnson, who has been diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
Failing a medical breakthrough, Jack's life will follow a predetermined path, mapped out by this progressive muscle wasting condition. In short, he will no longer be able to walk by the time he reaches adolescence and will lose the use of every single muscle in his body thereafter. He may need spinal rods to keep him upright and ventilation to help him breath. Eventually his heart and lungs will fail and he will die.
Since the diagnosis the Johnson family have aimed to raise both awareness of this little-known condition and money for research into finding possible treatments for DMD.
Wigan Warriors Rugby General Manager Kris Radlinski said,
"The Wigan Club is proud to be able to support the Joining Jack charity, not only because it is close to our own hearts but also because we hope that through their work the charity makes a difference to other individuals and families who are diagnosed with DMD.
"Our activities have been in planning for some months now and this is the first of a number of announcements we will be making in the build-up to the St Helens game."
As part of the design Wigan's main sponsor Applicado FS have agreed to surrender their Main Shirt Sponsorship for the game so that the shirts can display the Joining Jack logo. Applicado CTO Andrew Pickering commented,
"We were delighted to be able to support Joining Jack and offer them the opportunity to be the Main Sponsor for the day. As part of the package they will also be able to use our LED advertising boards and entertain key guests in our Executive Box. Jack's story is an incredibly sad one and this was the least we could do to support him, his family and the charity."
St Helens, arguably Wigan's biggest rivals, have also displayed a big show of respect to the cause as their main sponsor Typhoo have also agreed to have their own logo replaced by the Joining Jack charity logo for this specific game in an effort to help raise the profile. Typhoo CEO Keith Packer commented;
"We were honoured to be approached about supporting Joining Jack and allowing our logo to be replaced on the front of Saints' shirts is the very least we can do support such a worthy cause. We have been particularly impressed at how the Rugby League community has put aside competitive rivalry and is pulling together as a community to make a difference. At Typhoo, we're glad to play our small part in that big sense of community spirit. It also goes without saying that we wish AJ, Alex, Jack and James the best of luck on the day in raising as much money & awareness for the cause. "
Andy Johnson added,
"It's been a number of years now since I have had the privilege to wear a Cherry and White Rugby League shirt on my back. I was immensely proud to represent my home town at Central Park.
"Wigan were the first Rugby League club I played for and memories of playing nearly a hundred games will never leave me. Wigan gave me an enormous amount of support which allowed me to have a thirteen year career in the sport that I love.
"Now, twenty years on it is my son that needs help and today Wigan have shown that they are still my extended family. For one day, and with the support of Applicado and ISC, the joiningjack logo will be prominent on this fantastic jersey to raise awareness in our fight to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
"I want to say a huge thank you to everyone, including Applicado and Typhoo, the Wigan and St Helens clubs and everyone else who have raised their hands and said they were joiningjack along with us."
The green, blue, white and red shirt will be worn with white shorts and multi-coloured hooped socks.
A limited exclusive run of just 600 shirts have been produced for sale and these will launched and available to purchase on a first come, first served basis from Warriors World at the Grand Arcade on Thursday 23rd August between 5.30-7.30pm.
These will be priced at £42 for adults including a donation of £10 to the charity, and junior shirts will be available at £32 including a £7 donation. Whilst not compulsory, adult taxpaying supporters will be asked to complete a Gift Aid form that will allow the charity to claim a further 28p in each £1 donated to ensure they receive the maximum amount of money from the initiative.
Shirts will be available in adult sizes XS-4XL and children's sizes 6-14 years. Unfortunately due to the limited run there will be no women's cut shirts in this design and shirts will not be available to purchase online nor pre-order. Fans living out of the area will be able to order their shirts by phoning Warriors World on 01942 239655 from 5.30pm on launch night; however, the Club asks for patience as the telephone lines are expected to be very busy.
Match tickets for the game are now on sale from the DW Stadium Ticket Office, Ticket Hotline on 0871 66-33-552 and online at wiganwarriors.com