The NRL arena is no stranger to lending its support to a cause, whether it be raising funds and awareness for cancer research or support for former players who’ve fallen on hard times but this weekend, The Wests Tigers and Parramatta Eels are throwing their support behind a cause very close to the heart of this website.
On Sunday, players will take to the field without the usual sponsor logos emblazoned across their jerseys and instead feature the message “Stay Kind” – as they play for the Stay Kind Cup. In memory of 18-year-old Stuart Kelly who tragically died a year ago, taking his life four years after his brother Thomas was killed at the same age in a senseless and unprovoked act of violence in Kings Cross.
And the players are right behind it, “The Stay Kind initiative is a great thought and it’s great for people to be able to stop, pause and just see how their loved ones are and just make sure they they’re doing okay.” says Eels co-captain Tim Mannah, “It’s definitely something we can do more of, I think sometimes we get so caught up in our busy lives that we forget to stop and see how people around us are doing”.
Chris Lawrence from the Wests Tigers agrees, “I think it’s a great initiative, being able to promote this wonderful message and get the awareness out there and obviously promote the vales of being able to respect and stay kind amongst all avenues of life”.
This weekend’s game was chosen because Stuart was a passionate Eels fan and his dad Ralph supports the Tigers but the Kelly family hopes to spread the Stay Kind message far and wide. They say Stay Kind is about caring for one another in family, sport, work and school – believing that as a caring and compassionate community we can help prevent suicide in Australia.
We cannot under estimate how influential NRL players are for teenage boys and young men and with suicide one of the biggest killers of young males, it’s a perfect partnership. Through staying kind we can all make a difference.
To find out more, or show your support, go to: staykind.org.au
If you need help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14
This post has been kindly contributed by Sarah Forster.
Sarah is an award-winning news presenter, a mum and an ambassador for the Parramatta Eels.
She also makes really good chocolate cake! You can follow her on insta: @MrsSarahForster