A special bond with Sydney Swans star Jude Bolton is helping a Perth teenager stay positive in his fight against cancer - and helped his idol win an AFL premiership.
"Jude told me that he keeps my picture in his locker, which is really cool because I have his picture on my wall," Kalin Foley said yesterday as he prepared for another dose of chemotherapy.
By a stroke of good will and good fortune, the 13-year-old, who was born in Sydney, got to the grand final at the weekend to see the Swans beat Hawthorn.
"It was nail-biting but I was so excited when (Nick) Malceski kicked the final goal and I just wanted the siren to go," Kalin said. "I sang the team song six times.
"The next day I got to meet my idol Jude again. I like him because he is such a courageous player. He lifts the team and he inspires me.
"He gave me a big hug and showed me his premiership medal and when I went to hold it he said 'don't hold it mate, bite it', so I did."
Bolton said Kalin's picture had been in his locker since the pair met at Patersons Stadium this year.
"He's been with us the whole time," Bolton said. "We were rapt to see Kalin and his family over there. It was sensational that he got over to the grand final.
"To be able to put a smile on a kid like Kalin's face is pretty special stuff. I'm pretty humbled."
Kalin has the aggressive, rare cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma, found early in the football season when a training injury did not heal.
Kalin's club, Wanneroo Junior Football Club, teamed with Ocean Ridge juniors to stage the Foley Cup to raise funds for his family.
It wasn't long before word reached the Swans that a huge fan was having a hard time.
Swans operations manager Peter Berbakov met Kalin and his family in Perth and organised merchandise and messages of support from the players.
The side effects of chemotherapy put Kalin in hospital last week but in a mixed blessing it meant treatment had to be delayed until after the grand final.
With an all-clear from doctors, Kalin's dream of seeing the Swans play Hawthorn came true.
Mr Berbakov found tickets at the last minute and arranged for Kalin to celebrate with the players, Kalin's mum Brigitte Foley said.
So Kalin not only saw the win, he was greeted with a big Bolton hug and held the Premiership Cup.