Those who know our family, know us as an AFL and rugby family, however those who truly knew Coop, also knew he was a passionate foundation supporter of the Melbourne Storm.
Cooper never wavered in his passion for the Storm, and loved nothing more than a spirited game of League – so long as his beloved Storm came out on top.
When the generous offer came from the NRL to host an intimate, invitation only Chairman’s dinner for 50 guests, it represented a superb opportunity to raise awareness and funding for sarcoma, whilst celebrating the game Cooper had come to love since he was a small boy.
After my first meeting at NRL HQ, I was simply in awe of the lengths all those I met, were willing to go to in order to assist CRBF in optimising this opportunity.
The can-do attitude filters from the top down at the NRL, and there is a culture which I found overwhelmingly refreshing. Each person I dealt with was truly accommodating, helpful and understanding. My requests were numerous, and I was never at any stage made to feel an annoyance, when each of these people were juggling the rigours of finals – their busiest and most intense time of the year.
Then there were the ‘Legends of League’. One can be forgiven for feeling a little apprehensive when dealing with an illustrious group of sportsmen, who represented some of the best players this sport has produced.
The absence of the often- present sense of entitlement which can accompany sportsmen of this stature, was a breath of fresh air. Wayne Pearce, Steve Roach, Steve Edge, Brad Fittler, Michael Ennis, Anthony Minichiello, Braith Anasta, and Daly Cherry-Evans dined and engaged with our guests, in an effortless manner. Each volunteered their time, and their highly entertaining stories, and in doing so, thoroughly endeared themselves to those who spent time with them. I suspect I will continue to field emails from our high profile corporate attendees for some time, extending their thanks to each of these legends of the game of rugby league.
It is of note, the media has been littered with less than flattering commentary and images relating to Rugby League over past months, and it is nigh on impossible to find a newspaper article, or television coverage, that does not focus on the negative. As such, it is disappointing to note the media was unable to cover this event, and to broadcast the infinite positives rugby league brings to the community as a whole. This event was but one shining example of eight outstanding legends of the sport, quietly, and without fanfare, willingly giving their time to raise money for a cancer that has by and large been forgotten, and statistically, is unlikely to ever affect them or their families. There was no hidden agenda, but instead a willingness to place their ‘celebrity’ behind the cause.
Thanks to the generosity of the NRL and these outstanding legends of the game, we are today $33,000 closer to finding a cure for sarcoma,(and climbing daily), and in doing so, the sport of rugby league has provided untold hope for those young patients who walk this road behind Cooper.
Your kindness, and your willingness to shine the light on sarcoma will never be forgotten…