Rhinos players and staff pay to play this Easter Weekend for Mose Masoe
Leeds Rhinos players and staff will pay to play on Friday night as they join the Rugby League family in supporting injured star Mose Masoe.
Rugby League fans are being urged to buy ‘virtual tickets’ for this weekend’s round of Betfred Super League action as the sport comes together in a huge fund-raising effort to support Masoe.
The Mose Masoe Foundation has been launched to raise funds to help relieve the financial and mental hardship of players who suffer spinal injuries affecting their welfare and quality of life.
The former Samoan international, who suffered a career-ending and life-changing spinal injury last January when playing for Hull Kingston Rovers, will be the first beneficiary.
It is hoped the initial fundraising campaign will raise enough money to be able to help Mose, his partner Carissa and their three young children, daughters Evie-Rose and Marlowe and baby son Lui, whilst they are living in the UK and when they return home to Australia.
Leeds Rhinos players and coaching staff will each donate £20 to the fund and are urging Rhinos fans to join in the fundraising effort.
Leeds Rhinos captain Luke Gale said, “Everyone in the game has been touched by Mose’s story over the last year and he has been an inspirational figure. We saw first hand at the start of last year how the whole game came together to support one of our own in Rob Burrow and I know this will be no different for Mose. When we spoke about it as a group, all the players and staff were on board straight away and I hope Leeds fans can join in to raise as much money as possible to support Mose and his young family.”
Fans can choose to donate either £5, £10, £15, or £20.
The virtual tickets will be a donation only, as a gesture of solidarity within the Rugby League community, meaning a Sky Sports subscription is still required to watch the games as normal.
The 31-year-old has opened up to those close to him about the struggles he faces ahead – and how life differs from the ‘miracle man’ headlines generated last year when he took his first few steps.
The reality is Mose can still walk only a few unaided steps and any brief activity leaves him shattered. He still has no sensation or dexterity in his hands.
Indeed, his C4/C5 incomplete spinal cord injury led to him being diagnosed tetraplegic – one of the worst forms of paralysis – which means he has partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso.
Whilst some people experience improvements in symptoms, and others may regain partial or complete control over the affected areas with time, there is currently no way to reverse the damage done.
Carrisa has had to become his full-time carer, providing daily assistance with tasks such as personal hygiene and going to the toilet, as his and bladder and bowels do not function naturally.
Despite much-appreciated support from the Rugby League Benevolent Fund and Rugby League Cares already, Mose and his family are facing the prospect of potentially being left hundreds of thousands of pounds short of what they need to live in some form of comfort, even after an expected insurance payout.
Hearing the reality of his situation, friends and colleagues came together to quickly establish a team of Trustees and apply for charity status for the Foundation carrying his name.
It will firstly support him through helping cover the costs of things such as transport, home adaptations, ongoing rehabilitation, care and support.
Longer term, it will seek to continually raise funds to eventually support many other rugby players – of both codes and at all levels – whose lives are forever changed by similar spinal injuries, through grants and access to advocacy, advice, support and information.
Virtual Tickets can be bought now to start the huge fundraising effort
The ‘Virtual Ticket’ is the first money-raising effort announced, with those supporting Mose hopeful the togetherness of Rugby League will help raise a huge initial amount over the weekend of April 1-3.
In the UK it is the ‘Round 2’ Easter weekend fixture schedule, which includes a clash between the two clubs he represented in Super League, St Helens and Hull KR. The same weekend sees the UK’s Championship season start, with fans still not able to attend and support their clubs. They are being urged to purchase virtual tickets too.
In Australia the NRL will be into Round 4 of their season, with Mose’s former clubs in action as Penrith Panthers take on the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and Sydney Roosters facing the New Zealand Warriors.
Support shown across UK and Australia for hugely popular player
Hull KR coach Tony Smith will be one of the Trustees of the Foundation, and he says those close to Mose realised something ‘extra special’ had to be done to provide him with the support he needs.
“Most people have seen videos of Mose taking his first few unaided steps last year and have been of the impression that he was just going to continue getting better and better and beat this, but those close to him have seen the reality of his situation and the huge difficulties he and his family now face,” he said.
“He’s made incredible progress by just being able to get onto his feet and walk a few steps, but away from those public videos life is so, so hard for Mose and his family, and the reality is he may have reached the peak of his recovery.
“He faces going back to Australia only ever having played rugby, with no other training, no dexterity in his hands to be able to use a keyboard or write and no significant ongoing financial support. He is going to need an immense amount of help and support just to be able to live in some form of comfort and quality.
“Mose came over to Super League and gave his all for our game, so we are hoping fans of all clubs will come together to help send him home with the best possible opportunity for his future life by doing something truly special.
“We want fans to make whatever donation they can. This is a great opportunity to once again demonstrate what a wonderful, supportive community we have across rugby league, both in the UK and overseas, and how we always come together to help people in their time of need.”
To find out more about the Mose Masoe Foundation visit www.mosemasoefoundation.co.uk
How to buy your ‘virtual ticket’
Text 70085 and;
5MOSE to donate £5
10MOSE to donate £10
15MOSE to donate £15
20MOSE to donate £20
Texts cost amount donated plus one standard rate message