As a result of Sam's diagnosis he is unable to run and jump and he requires the use of a wheelchair over long distances as his legs fatigue easily. This has also meant that finding a suitable extra-curricular activity for him has been challenging. Sam loves sports and being active and after seeing a YouTube video of Wheelchair Rugby League he was adamant that was the sport for him.
In November 2020, we apprehensively took Sam down to a 'come and try' day with the SEQ Wheelchair NRL club. We prepped his older brother and said that he probably wouldn't be able to get in and have a go and that it was a day for Sam. We couldn't have been more wrong. We learned that day that Wheelchair Rugby League is one of the most, if not the most, inclusive sport! ALL ABILITIES can play, even at a professional level. This meant that for the first time Sam and his older brother could play TOGETHER on a level playing field (although Sam had a significant advantage in the driving department).
Unfortunately, at the moment there isn't a junior league and no junior wheelchairs and for Sam's sake we want to change this! Our mission is to raise enough money to buy a fleet of junior sports wheelchairs so more kids can come and try and potentially create a junior league. SEQ Wheelchair NRL are run purely on donations and sponsorship and we want desperately to give back to them!
This year I will be running the Gold Coast Half Marathon (pending COVID restrictions) and aiming for a PB of under 1hr57mins in support of this fundraiser. Each year at this running festival we have a number of SMAsh It For Sam warriors running various distances and 2021 is no exception. To date I can confirm that there will be at least 3 of us running the half marathon and Sam will also be taking part in his manual wheelchair for one of the kids events.
Junior wheelchairs start from roughly $3000 so we need your support to spread the word and get people on board to help Sam play Wheelchair NRL in 2021!
You can also check out the SEQ Wheelchair Rugby League FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/SEQLDWRL/
- Berna Thurgate
- Kahla Biffanti
- Dani Duncan
- Cait Barber
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