In continuing to promote healthy lifestyles for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through education and health initiatives, the Sharks and Vitalis Family Medical Service, in line with the Club’s partnership with Indigenous health organisation Deadly Choices, hosted a special community event at PointsBet Stadium to coincide with Close the Gap Day.
Building on what is already a strong relationship between Sharks Have Heart and Deadly Choices, local indigenous children were invited to a Sharks NRL training session, with the aim for them to also complete the 715-Health Check on the day.
In all 17 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Checks were conducted, the participants received Deadly Choices shirts and those in attendance were able to meet the players, have photographs taken and have their shirts signed.
Sharks Have Heart Indigenous programs coordinator Rachal Allan was thrilled with the response, the interaction with the players and the fact that 17 youngsters were able to undertake the crucial health checks.
“The players were generous with their time, with some kids lucky enough to receive player worn shirts and shoes after training had finished,” Allan said. “But more importantly, the doctors and medical professionals we had on site were able to conduct the health checks which are extremely important for the Indigenous community.
“The event also helped to build relationships with other service providers and community stakeholders to hopefully hold more events and get more health checks completed within our community,” Ms Allan added.
Also in attendance on the day were the team from the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence’s ‘Talking About Tobacco Use’, headspace, the Bulbuwil Aboriginal Lifestyle Support Program and the Central Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network.
The National Close the Gap Day (NCTGD) is a national day of action to pledge support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in their efforts to achieve Indigenous health equality by the year 2030.
Each year the support for NCTDG continues to grow, with people all over the country taking part in various events, similar the Sharks-Deadly Choices health check initiative, to create awareness of the Close the Gap Campaign.
NCTGD aims to bring people together, to share information — and most importantly — to take meaningful action in support of Indigenous health goals.
In relation to Deadly Choices, there aim is to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to make healthy choices for themselves and their families by not smoking, eating good food and exercising daily, while connecting the community with the appropriate health services and implementing safeguards against the development of chronic disease.
In Aboriginal slang, if something is ‘deadly’ it is great. As such a Deadly Choice is a good choice, and the community are encouraged to make such choices every day.
The Sharks-Deadly Choices program will continue to operate as it aims to further connect the Sharks with the local Indigenous community and in aligning with the current Sharks Have Heart’s programs and initiatives that fall into the pillar of Inclusivity and Diversity.