If you ever needed an example of the impact AFL players have on the lives of fans, this is it.
22-year-old Jarryd Plischka has suffered from Cystic Fibrosis since birth and the lifelong Collingwood fan always dreamed of meeting his heroes.
So when the Collingwood playing group took the opportunity to donate $5,000 of their Players Care funds to Cystic Fibrosis Community Care, the cheque was handed to Plischka at the Holden Centre.
“I wanted to meet Mason Cox and especially Jamie Elliot, so i was pretty shocked when they came out to shake my hand,” Plischka told AFLPlayers.com.au.
As well as making young Jarryd’s day, presenting him with an opportunity he’ll never forget, the donation was also about furthering Cystic Fibrosis research to find a cure, which is close to a player’s heart.
“It effects mostly the respiratory, reproductive and digestive systems in the body. At the moment there’s no known cure,” Collingwood defender Lynden Dunn said.
“My wife’s sister passed away from CF when she was 21. I never got to meet Jasmine but i know a lot about her but it certainly affects my family.”
Dunn also has a friend whose family member is affected by the disease.
Cystic fibrosis is the most common, inherited, life threatening condition effecting young Australians where the average life expectancy for someone born with the condition is only 37 years.
People living with cystic fibrosis require relentless daily treatments, significant medications, physiotherapy and frequent hospitalisations throughout their lives and battle infections, malnutrition, exhaustion and decreasing lung capacity.
Cystic Fibrosis Community Care is an amalgamation of the former Cystic Fibrosis Victoria and Cystic Fibrosis New South Wales.