SAINTS’ James Roby has revealed how a major health scare for his son influenced a decision to put a campaigning charity at the heart of his testimonial year.
Five years ago the hooker and wife Natasha saw their first child, Ollie, rushed into hospital at just two months old.
It led to him being diagnosed with an infection called Group B Streptococcus, which can potentially lead to deafness, blindness or brain damage – and in some cases death.
Doctors managed to catch the infection in Ollie early – meaning he avoided any complications and was able to receive the best treatment possible – but it is a condition Roby and Natasha are keen to highlight.
And so the Saints talisman – who first wore the red vee in 2004 - will be “giving something back” to a campaigning charity close to his heart during his testimonial year, which opened this month.
The Group B Strep Support charity will collect half of the year’s charitable donations, with the rest going to the Steve Prescott Foundation.
Roby, who also has seven-month-old daughter, Athelia, told the Star: “Group B Strep Support is a charity that is campaigning to get pregnant women screened for an infection called Group B Streptococcus.
“I had never heard of it before, but Ollie contracted Group B when he was just ten weeks old and he got rushed into hospital.
“It is like an early form of meningitis and if they don’t catch it early enough it can lead to deafness, blindness or brain damage.
“Luckily we got there in time and he has no side effects at all. I just want to give something back to a charity I can relate to.”
Ollie is now five and has made a full recovery.
The Group B Strep Support charity welcomed Roby’s support.
In a statement, the charity said: “We are delighted and honoured that James Roby has selected Group B Strep Support as one of his chosen charities during his Testimonial year.
"He has been a supporter of the charity since 2010 and his support during this very special year will raise not only much needed funds for the charity, but also awareness of Group B Strep and particularly how most of these devastating infections in newborn babies can be prevented.”