Australian homelessness tackled by leading sports stars
More than $120,000 was raised for Wesley Mission’s homelessness support services by some of Australia’s leading sporting identities at a luncheon last week at the Royal Automobile Club of Australia in Sydney.
Hosted by former Wallabies captain, Nick Farr-Jones, and Wesley Mission supporter, Phillip Hartog, the annual Sports United event broke a previous fundraising record.
Sports stars from rugby league, rugby union, wheelchair rugby, cricket, AFL, surf lifesaving and swimming participated in the event.
Many of the athletes who attended Sports United shared why they choose to support Wesley Mission, including retired AFL and Sydney Swans player, Jude Bolton.
“I’ve come along to Sports United for a number of years now. It’s a great event and a better opportunity to help those doing it tough,” he said. “I see a lot of homeless people in Woolloomooloo, Sydney. Some of them are wearing three piece suits. It makes me think where they’ve come from and realise that homelessness can happen to anyone.”
Australian and NSW cricketer, Nathan Lyon, echoed similar sentiments and inspired others about the importance of financially supporting homelessness accommodation services.
“I’m always happy to support and look for ways to give back to community,” he said. “I have two young girls of my own and I’d do anything to steer him away from that life but it’s scary to know that there are this many children doing it tough. It really hits home.”
Other sports stars that supported the event included retired Australian and Manly Sea Eagles rugby league player, Steve Menzies, former rugby union players, Mark and Gary Ella, and Sydney FC A-League manager, Graham Arnold.
A special guest at the luncheon was a former client of Wesley Mission’s Edward Eagar Lodge. Wesley Mission CEO the Rev Keith Garner shared his story of hardship to hope.
The man’s downward spiral into homelessness began when his son was diagnosed with cancer. On top of juggling carer duties for his son with his wife, disaster struck again when he lost his job. A year later when he thought things could not get any worse, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Help came when he was referred to Edward Eagar Lodge. During the next six months Wesley Mission helped him get back on his feet and into long-term housing. The former client continues to attend Wesley Mission’s annual Easter Sunrise Service out of thanks for the help he received.
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