Having played for Cronulla Caringbah in the junior league, Endeavour Sports High, then for the Sharks junior reps and under 20’s, then this year the Cabramatta club, Kurt Drysdale made plenty of friends during his rugby league journey.
Drysdale played on the same teams as some of the current superstars of the game and can today call them friends, with many coming together to help support the cause in his time of need.
Seriously injured playing for Cabramatta in the Sydney Shield, Drysdale has been left paralysed.
While everybody remains positive and Kurt clings to hope that he can make a recovery of sorts, the costs for his ongoing care and medical treatments are set to be excessive.
As a result, his friends and former teammates came together earlier this week to help raise awareness of his plight and to encourage the rugby league community to support the various fundraising initiatives.
Sharks young gun Valentine Holmes, who met and played with Kurt in the Sharks NYC team, paid him a visit in Royal North Shore Hospital this week.
“He’s a very good bloke, a very good player and he’s always been smiling and happy,” Holmes said. “To see what’s happened to him, it’s very sad.
“It’ll mean a lot to see everyone get behind him – every little bit of support he can get will mean the world. Hopefully at our home game on Monday night the whole Shire can get behind the Unite for Kurt fundraising effort and help us to a win – I know he’d like that.”
Drysdale’s association with the Bulldogs duo Michael Lichaa and Shaun Lane goes all the way back to junior football at Cronulla Caringbah, with the pair also very supportive of any efforts to get behind their good friend.
“It’s pretty tragic what happened to him but hopefully everyone can get behind him through the Unite for Kurt Round and support him and his family as best as possible,” Lichaa said. “Hopefully we can get a smile on his face.
“(The Cabra jersey) It’s a cool design, I hope he likes it and I hope the boys who wear it on the weekend go out and do him proud.”
And from Lane, who was a teammate and also a schoolmate at Endeavour Sports High School;
“I first met Kurt in school rep footy when I was 11, and we went to the same high school at Endeavour and I played with him there and in the junior reps at Cronulla,” Lane began. “I was with him most afternoons, he’s one of my best mates. He’s a great bloke, a really rare person nowadays who’s so kind-hearted and selfless – no-one would ever say a bad word about him.
“It’s a very sad thing what’s happened to him.”
“I know he and his family are very happy with everyone getting behind him and all the fundraising from the rugby league community and the general public – they really appreciate it and are very grateful,” Lane added.
Also fully supportive was the Cabramatta club, with former NRL player Kris Keating proudly displaying the jersey his team will play in this weekend during the NSWRL’s Unite for Kurt round.
All gate takings from the Cabramatta Ron Massey Cup game against Blacktown Workers will go to the Unite For Kurt round, while a number of players will donate their match fees from the game.
Other initiatives include a Small Steps for Kurt Walk through the Sutherland Shire to Remondis Stadium and the Sharks v Storm game on Monday night, while bucket collections will take place at the ground.
The Sharks are also offering a special Unite for Kurt ticket. Only available by pre-purchasing, $5 from the $30 ticket price goes directly to the fundraising. For more information on the ticket offer, click here - http://www.sharks.com.au/community/uniteforkurt.html
To Donate to the Unite for Kurt fund
All past and future funds that are raised for Kurt Drysdale should be deposited into the following bank account:
Account Name: NEW SOUTH WALES RUGBY LEAGUE LTD - KURT DRYSDALE FUNDRAISING
Account Number: 12146604
When depositing funds into this account, please;
State your organisation name (Club, School, Company, etc.) on the bank transaction
Wests Ashfield Leagues Club will host a fundraising dinner on Thursday, September 24, featuring Warren Smith as MC, Dave Faulkner from the Hoodoo Gurus and other special guests including Phil Gould, Jason Taylor and more. Tickets are $200 from www.westsashfield.com.au
Cabramatta Leagues Club will also host a function later this month, with a sportsmen’s function on August 22 featuring guest speakers including NSW VB Blues coach Laurie Daley, the auctioning of memorabilia items and other drawcards. Contact the club for details.
Photo - from left - Kris Keating, Valentine Holmes, Shaun Lane, Michael Lichaa