The Forest Lawn High School rugby team didn’t win a single game this season–but it doesn’t matter.
No one will remember the final scores or their record. But they will remember May 16.
In the final game of the season against the best team in junior rugby, Doug Jarvis–a Grade 10 student with a rare genetic disorder–not only got on the field, but stole the spotlight.
Click through the photo gallery below to see Doug in action:
In the dying seconds, Doug grabbed the ball and ran the length of the field to score his first-ever try–a moment captured in the video above.
His teammates, elated by the triumphant moment, hoisted him onto their shoulders and carried off the star of the game chanting his name: “Jarvis, Jarvis, Jarvis!”
“I’ve never been so proud of my son, to see what he’s accomplished,” said his mother, Rolene Maliteare. “He’s a special gift from God, that boy.”
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Doug became the star of Forest Lawn athletics this year, and not because he led the team in touchdowns or tries, but because he led them in personality and positivity.
“You see him yelling and screaming ‘let’s go guys’. Just the most energetic and happy guy to be around…even on the worst of days,” fellow Grade 10 student Samuel Steward said.
Born with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), Doug has an insatiable appetite, low muscle tone and a learning disability.
“Overall, he just wants to eat all the time. Food is his favourite thing,” Maliteare said. “It’s his passion.”
WATCH: Global Calgary learns how Doug Jarvis’ positive attitude has impacted other students, when he visits with his mother Rolene Maliteare and his coach Keith Daye
Doug has a new passion now: sports.
Never one to turn down an opportunity, it all started on registration day when a student invited him to join the football team. Doug obliged.
“Doug approaches it in a simple way that I wish a lot of other people could. Somebody said, ‘here’s an opportunity,’ he said ‘OK, I’m in,” Forest Lawn wrestling coach Keith Daye said.
At the start of the school year, Doug weighed 257 pounds.
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By the end of the season Doug had played Titans football, wrestling and rugby. He also lost nearly 100 pounds.
“He was diabetic, Type 2 on insulin,” Rolene said. “No more insulin. No more finger pokes.”
“Just a totally different kid than he was a couple years ago. I just think, if he can do it, why can’t other people do it? He inspires me every day, and I’m his mom.”
According to the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research Canada (FPWR Canada) the disorder affects one in 15,000 people. The most dominate symptom of PWS is extreme hunger, which means a person never feels full. There are currently no effective treatments to regulate appetite in PWS.