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    ‘Our brave boy’: AFL superstar Gary Ablett Jnr gives an update on his son’s progress seven weeks after he and his wife Jordan revealed his desperate battle with a mystery disease

    • The Geelong Cats midfielder posted a photo of his young son Levi on Instagram 
    • Ablett and his wife Jordan revealed Levi had a rare degenerative disease in July
    • It came just weeks before Mrs Ablett’s mother Trudy Papalia died of lung cancer
    • Gary Ablett Jnr left Perth’s AFL hub to return to his family and be with his son

    AFL great Gary Ablett Jnr has shared a photo of his ‘brave’ young son as he battles a rare and degenerative disease.

    The Geelong champion posted an image of smiling 19-month-old Levi on Wednesday, showing the youngster being fitted with a medical boot.

    ‘We got some special boots fitted for our brave boy yesterday,’ Ablett wrote alongside the photo.

    ‘He’s a happy and determined boy who is showing our family there is so much to be grateful for.’ 

    The Geelong Cats midfielder posted the image of a smiling 19-month-old Levi on Instagram on Wednesday that showed the youngster being fitted with a medical boot (pictured)

    The couple (pictured together with baby Levi) have described their son a 'true blessing' who was 'full of joy'

    The couple (pictured together with baby Levi) have described their son a ‘true blessing’ who was ‘full of joy’ 

    The 36-year-old and his wife Jordan revealed Levi was fighting a rare, and undisclosed, illness after the AFL great played his 350th match in July.

    ‘Yesterday was a very special day and I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone for your messages of support and encouragement,’ Ablett’s post read. 

    ‘To reach this milestone was extra special for my family and I for a number of reasons.

    ‘In the recent months, my wife and I have privately fought and continue to fight some pretty tough battles. Some of you might already know that Jordan is caring for her mum as she battles with cancer. But what many of you don’t know is that our son has been recently diagnosed with a rare and degenerative disease.

    ‘After a great amount of thought and consideration, we decided that it’s time to share this with you. We thank you for your love and support and want to emphasise just how grateful we are to be Levi’s parents.

    Ablett (pictured with Levi and his wife Jordan) played his 350th AFL game for Geelong in early July

    Ablett (pictured with Levi and his wife Jordan) played his 350th AFL game for Geelong in early July

    The couple spoke about how grateful they were to be the parents of baby Levi (pictured with dad Gary Ablett)

     The couple spoke about how grateful they were to be the parents of baby Levi (pictured with dad Gary Ablett) 

    ‘He is a true blessing to us and our family and we love him so deeply. Anyone who knows him knows how full of joy he is and how he always has a smile on his face.’

    Ablett’s post was followed with an open letter to the then-17-month-old uploaded on Mrs Ablett’s Instagram account.

    ‘To our dearest Levi, words will never be enough to express just how full our hearts are of love for you,’ the post reads. 

    ‘You’ve only been with us for a short while but you’ve already taught us more than some people learn in a lifetime.  

    Pictured: Geelong midfielder Gary Ablett and his wife Jordan Ablett. The couple have a son, Levi, who has a rare genetic disease

    Pictured: Geelong midfielder Gary Ablett and his wife Jordan Ablett. The couple have a son, Levi, who has a rare genetic disease

    Pictured: Gary Ablett Jnr and his wife Jordan with baby Levi. The family revealed their young son is fighting a rare illness

    Pictured: Gary Ablett Jnr and his wife Jordan with baby Levi. The family revealed their young son is fighting a rare illness

    ‘Although it has been a difficult journey and start to life, your diagnosis does not take away any ounce of our love for you. Your joy is contagious and not even this disease is able to steal it from you. We pray for you every day and we will continue to take each day as it comes. 

    ‘You are so loved by all of the people in your world and you are and will continue to be a true miracle.

    ‘We have no doubt that we are your parents for a reason, and we feel a strong sense of privilege to be entrusted with such a great and precious responsibility.

    ‘We don’t know what our future holds together but we do know that you’ll never have to feel alone.’

    In further heartache for the couple, Mrs Albett’s mother Trudy Papalia recently died after a battle with breast cancer. 

    AFL star Gary Ablett's wife Jordan Ablett announced her mum Trudy (pictured, with their son Levi) died surrounded by loved ones after a battle with cancer

    AFL star Gary Ablett’s wife Jordan Ablett announced her mum Trudy (pictured, with their son Levi) died surrounded by loved ones after a battle with cancer

    The brunette was due to give birth to Levi on the week she found out about her mother’s diagnosis. 

    To make sure her mother didn’t miss out on the milestone moment, Mrs Ablett asked her obstetrician to induce labour before her mother began her treatment.

    Although the chemotherapy was successful, Ms Papalia’s cancer had returned and she spent her final few months in palliative care.

    Albett returned from Queensland to be with his family in Melbourne on July 19 during the emotional time – the day Levi was rushed to the Royal Children’s Hospital. 

    The mother-of-one posted a photo to Instagram of the young boy smiling and buckled into the backseat.

    Jordan Ablett posted to her Instagram the photo of a smiling Levi, who is living with a rare, degenerative disease, buckled into the backseat of the family car at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne

    Jordan Ablett posted to her Instagram the photo of a smiling Levi, who is living with a rare, degenerative disease, buckled into the backseat of the family car at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne

    ‘My brave boy,’ the caption read. 

    Ablett is set to retire at the end of the season, but is adamant that he has not yet played his last game. 

    ‘He’s made the decision to return home and obviously as a football club and the AFL, we totally support that on compassionate grounds and you’ll find that this may happen across the competition in coming weeks, at different times,’ Geelong football manager Simon Lloyd told ABC

    ‘I think Gary’s intention is to return to the hub at some stage but again this is something that we’ll work and stay in contact with Gary.

    ‘He spoke to the playing group and he said that he wants to get back and get playing.’   

    Jordan Ablett said while her son Levi (pictured together) had only been with the couple for a short while he had already taught them more than 'some people learn in a lifetime'

    Jordan Ablett said while her son Levi (pictured together) had only been with the couple for a short while he had already taught them more than ‘some people learn in a lifetime’

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