Congratulations to Joining Jack for winning the Dubai 7's

We would like to congratulate the Joining Jack team for their recent victory! Joining Jack took a team to the Dubai 7's international rugby competition, and they came back champions!

Joining Jack is a founding charity partner of Duchenne UK. Joining Jack and the Duchenne Children’s Trust came together in 2016 to form Duchenne UK, a charity dedicated to funding and accelerating research and treatments solely for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Alex Johnson, founder of Joining Jack and Jacks Mum, tells us more about Joining Jack's victory at the Dubai 7s.

"Dubai has always had a special place in our hearts, it’s where Andy and I went on our first holiday together and where we were married 10 years ago. 

I have always known the rugby community is a special one and it’s fair to say they look after their own. For those of you who don’t know, my husband Andy played professional rugby league for 13 years. In those 13 years he gained team mates who became part of our extended family, rugby players who are there for each other through thick and thin, they always have each other’s back.

When Jack was diagnosed with Duchenne our friends and family looked on in horror as our world was blown apart. They felt helpless and wanted to do something to help.

A friend of ours Andrew Wingrove had moved to Dubai and called Andy with an idea. He suggested we entered a team of retired ex-professional rugby players into the International Dubai Sevens Veterans tournament and raise awareness for Duchenne on the international stage. 

A few calls later and a plan was busily being hatched to create the Joining Jack Legends team and ambassadors. Andy’s friends came together from across the world to form a team of global superstars whose aim was to raise the profile of Duchenne at every opportunity. And they didn’t disappoint. Whether it be at a club level or international game, a TV game show and even a business meeting, we see and hear the Joining Jack name and now infamous salute. It often brings tears to our eyes that they are thinking about us at such poignant moments. 

Andy arranged to meet the CEO of Emirates and Dnata, Gary Chapman, five years ago along with Andy Farrell, Shaun Edwards, Kris Radlinski and Gary Connolly to pitch the idea of a Joining Jack Legends side. Gary Chapman agreed to support us and out of that meeting a journey and friendship began that has not only grown but blossomed over the past five years. Each year since our inaugural trip in 2012, the team has returned to the tournament to spread awareness and take a shot at the trophy. Every year we have come close but failed at the final hurdle., until today.

Today we sit proudly as the reigning champions of the International Vets group, proudly putting Duchenne on the world stage.  Over the weekend, we played in front of 100,000 people with millions more watching on television around the world. 

I can’t possibly thank our sponsors and supporters enough for staying with us throughout this journey. Our near misses have been frustrating and heartbreaking. Jack has cried at every loss, and each year it has become more difficult for everyone involved to witness the disappointment on his face. But this year, when he delivered the final team ahead of the final - ‘I have the heart, you have the legs, now go win this for me’ - we knew there was only ever going to be one winner. 

The team has changed over the years but the fight and determination the lads show every year is incredible and that’s what makes me so proud to be part of the rugby community. My only disappointment this year was that some special people who have been instrumental in our journey couldn’t be with us on the day to lift the trophy. 

We will return to defend our title next year but hopefully next year we will be that bit closer to lifting the ultimate trophy an effective treatment for everyone living with Duchenne."

Published on 20 December 2017

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