Wests Tigers U20’s support Kids of Macarthur

Wests Tigers Toyota Cup players have formed a strong alliance with the Kids of Macarthur Health Foundation.<br><br>In between their work, study and training commitments, the U20s players take time out each Friday when available for a tour of duty through the Kids of Macarthur Health Foundation.<br><br>The partnership started last year when former Wests Tigers Toyota Cup coach Peter Gentle and Wests Tigers Toyota Cup manager and Welfare Officer Darren Mooney decided it was time for the young footballers to ‘get a reality check’.<br><br>Led by then U20s player and now NRL squad member Blake Lazarus, a select group of players toured the wards to help brighten up the lives of the young children.<br><br>“It is a very rewarding experience for the players,’’ Darren said.<br><br>“It makes them realise that they are in a fortunate position to be able to play the game they love at a high level at a young age. Some of the kids they visit are not much older than themselves, so it is a real eye opener.<br><br>“It has made a difference in their attitude. You can often hear them talking about the kids they saw at training and what they have been going through.<br><br>“We will continue to make the visits and would like to thank the management and staff of The Kids of Macarthur Health Foundation and the wonderful nursing staff there for their on-going support.’’<br><br>Kids of Macarthur Health Foundation CEO Denise McGrath said the unit was thrilled to be able to accommodate the rugby league players. Lazarus, out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, continues to undertake the visits and is now joined by Wests Tigers Community Liaison Officer John Skandalis when available.<br><br>“We have formed a very good relationship with the Wests Tigers,’’ Denise said.<br><br>“Blake is a wonderful young man and is a constant visitor to our wards. All of the players show plenty of kindness and warmth to the kids.<br><br>“The players visit children and youth in the various paediatric units. This includes the Paediatric Unit (children’s ward), Paediatric Ambulatory Care Services (children who come in for day treatments and care), Paediatric Emergency and Gna Ka Lun (child and adolescent mental health unit).<br><br>“The children gain tremendous benefit from the visits, their spirits are raised and they have huge smiles on their faces for the rest of the day.<br><br>“Some of the children are very sick indeed but they are always very excited to meet Wests Tigers players. We hope it is an equally valuable experience for the footballers.<br><br>“Thank you Wests Tigers for supporting Kids of Macarthur Health Foundation and for generously taking the time to visit sick kids at Campbelltown Hospital.’’<br><br>