nib foundation and the VB NSW State of Origin Blues have helped a young fan kick a life goal when he joined the Guard of Honour in the lead up to Game 2 of Holden State of Origin last night at ANZ Stadium.
Jackson Love was an inspiration to his family when he stood proud alongside his sporting idols, the NSW Blues and in particular his favourite player, Anthony Watmough, in front of a crowd of more than 80,000 spectators.
Jackson, a courageous eight year old from Warriewood, was diagnosed with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy before his first birthday - a condition resulting from a stroke that affects the mobility on the right side of his body.
Through his hard work and determination at various forms of therapy he is now an active and happy young boy who can run, swim and play footy.
Jackson’s beaming smile highlighted his excitement as the players ran past him onto the field.
“This is the best night of my life! I got to high-five some of the players and the whole crowd was cheering for us, I felt like a star!”
Jackson’s mother, Tracey, described the potentially life-long impact this opportunity could have on her son.
“Despite the grazed knees and elbows, Jackson loves his footy. I am positive that tonight will live with him forever and it will continually motivate him to participate in rugby league, just like his heroes”.
As well as joining the players out on the field, Jackson and his family had a guided tour of ANZ Stadium, including the NSW dressing room, before heading into the stands to watch the game.
NSW Blues major sponsor, nib health funds, and its charitable organisation, nib foundation, made this once in a lifetime opportunity possible for Jackson through their partnership with the Arts Health Institute ‘Amazing Magic Club’ program.
Since 2013, nib foundation has supported the program that has helped instil in Jackson a ‘nothing is impossible’ attitude, as well as the opportunity to participate in interactive fun therapy with other children who have hemiplegia.
The Amazing Magic Club, run by the Arts Health Institute, is a program for children aged 7 – 16 years who have hemiplegia that uses magic tricks to promote the use of both hands. This therapy improves the social and emotional wellbeing for the child and their journey to adulthood.