New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) ambassador and True Blue Anthony Minichiello and more than 40,000 Junior Rugby League players across the state will kick-off the "NSWRL Wishleagues" this weekend, an initiative to raise funds for the Starlight Children's Foundation throughout August.
The NSWRL's Junior Rugby League and senior NSW Cup competitions will be rebranded "NSWRL Wishleagues" in support of the Foundation, with teams and supporters encouraged to raise as much money as possible to help fund three Starlight Wishes for seriously ill children, adolescents, and their families.
For this weekend (August 1-2), the NSW Junior Rugby League competitions will don the new name, while the NSW Cup will be rebranded NSWRL Wishleague on the weekends of August 8-9 and August 15-16.
Minichiello said he was delighted to support the effort and help raise funds for sick kids, teenagers and their families.
"NSWRL's Starlight Wishleague rounds support Starlight’s wish-granting program which helps make dreams come true for sick kids, teenagers and their families, giving them something to look forward to during treatment," Minichiello said.
"I encourage everyone to get behind the NSWRL’s Starlight Wishleague rounds in support of this great cause. Starlight Wishes can make a world of difference to a sick child or teen, and they bring their entire family together."
Since its establishment in 1988, Starlight has granted nearly 9,000 Wishes. Every Starlight Wish is unique, with children and adolescents choosing Starlight Wish experiences that are special to them.
Starlight Wishes support kids and teens with a range of illnesses and injuries. In the past three years, Starlight has seen a 75 per cent increase in the number of Wish referrals from health professionals in children’s hospitals around Australia.
NSWRL CEO David Trodden said the Starlight Wishleague rounds presented a wonderful opportunity for the rugby league family to support and assist those in need.
"The Starlight Children's Foundation is a brilliant organisation and we’re delighted, through NSWRL’s competitions and the NSWRL Wishleague rounds, to support this great cause," Trodden said.
"Last year we helped raise more than $24,000 to grant the wishes of five seriously ill children and their families and we're hoping to replicate that, through the generous support of our rugby league family, once again this year."
NSW Blues coach Laurie Daley will present a signed 2015 Origin jersey to the club that raises the most money at the completion of the fundraising effort.
To support Starlight, people are encouraged to make a donation during the NSWRL Wishleague periods either at NSWRL fixtures or via wishleague.com.au. Use the #Wishleague hashtag to show your support via social media.
For more information on Starlight, visit starlight.org.au or call 1300 727 827.