Ross's wish for Men of League
A rugby league community united behind the Men of League Foundation.
That's the one dream former Dragons, Panthers, Rabbitohs and Sharks prop Ben Ross has for Men of League, the organisation he has been a part of for the past three years in his capacity as National Welfare Manager.
From welfare visits, to grants and scholarships, the Foundation provides essential services to those players, coaches, referees, officials and administrators from all levels of the game – past and present – who require a helping hand.
While fundraising events (the Men of League Foundation raised approximately $800,000 through committee events in 2015) do make a significant contribution to the foundation's efforts, a strong membership base is needed for it to continue offering its services.
With membership just $20, Ross has stressed the importance these funds have, hoping one day to have the entire rugby league community supporting the foundation.
"The one thing that could enhance Men of League is to get everyone involved in rugby league to become a member," Ross said.
"It's $20 that allows you to assist someone in the rugby league community doing it tough. $20 to a welfare recipient means the world.
"The money that people give goes directly back into welfare assistance."
Financial assistance isn't the only area the Men of League Foundation could benefit, with Ross also highlighting the need for volunteers to continue the work the foundation has done to date.
"We're always looking for volunteers. It doesn't matter if you can give half an hour of your time once a month, it's the benefit you can bring to someone's life," Ross added.
"A visit or lending your hand to a committee event, these sorts of things are really changing the rugby league community for the better."
Recently the foundation were able to assist Harry Bowes, a promising 15-year-old Broncos junior who was struck down with leukaemia and a tumour on the base of his spine. Thanks to Men of League, Harry was able to meet his beloved Queensland Maroons at a training session and also attend Origin II earlier this year.
"We've given that rugby league experience along with the QRL to go along to a Maroons training session, and experience things that money can't buy, things that I suppose we take for granted as rugby league players as a common occurrence," Ross explained.
"For the everyday person who doesn't get the play at the high level, this is something that can change someone's life. I'm glad that we've been able to take him to the training session and give him tickets to the game and really make a difference in his life."
With Men of League making a difference at all levels of the game, you can support the foundation by becoming a member and helping make Ross's dream a reality.