A Perfect Match: Bear Cottage Families Experience the Magic of Rugby

27 March 2024 | Expected time to read: 2 minutes

Lauren, Child Life Therapy Technology Specialist.

For James and Amy, every day is an opportunity to create lasting memories with their two-year-old son, Louis. Diagnosed with Krabbe Disease, a life-limiting metabolic disorder, Louis' parents are determined to give him the "biggest best short life" possible. This mission led to the creation of "Louis' Life List," a collection of experiences designed to create lasting memories for their son, including unforgettable moments at Bear Cottage, where the family finds respite and support.  

As fervent supporters of the Waratahs Rugby team, it was only natural for them to introduce Louis to the sport and its community, paving the way for an unforgettable encounter with Waratahs prop Hayden Thompson-Stringer.

The encounter between Louis and Hayden sparked a unique bond. After hearing about Louis’ Life List, Hayden was inspired to find ways to support Bear Cottage, a sanctuary for families like Louis’.  Thanks to his efforts and the generosity of the Waratahs, 54 Bear Cottage patients, families, staff, and volunteers were treated to an extraordinary rugby experience. They attended the NSW Waratahs "Rugby For Good Round" at Allianz Stadium, an event dedicated to giving back to the community. 

The lead-up to the match was filled with excitement as Hayden reunited with Louis at Bear Cottage. The visit was made even more special with the presence of Tatum Bird and Piper Duck from the Waratahs Women's team. This partnership between Bear Cottage and the Waratahs underscores the power of community in supporting families facing unimaginable challenges. 

On the night of the match, the children and families from Bear Cottage had the opportunity to meet the players, form a guard of honour, and cheer them on from the sidelines. For James and Amy, the experience was particularly poignant, knowing that their son's encounter with Hayden had been the catalyst for this memorable event. 

“It was a really special experience to be here and to give to Louis and so many other Bear Cottage families.” James hopes that the partnership between Bear Cottage and the Waratahs will “go on for a long time and make a lot of people happy, give them joy and happiness, and leave a nice little legacy for Louis.” 

As the game concluded, the true winners were the children and families of Bear Cottage, who carried home memories that will last a lifetime.  

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the NSW Waratahs for their incredible support and for creating an experience that transcended the rugby field, touching the lives of those who need it most. Go the Tahs! 

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