Our little mate has been in hospital now for over 6 months fighting a tough battle. He has been taken away from his mates and the creature comforts of his home. His fight is still well and truly ongoing.
So when on a recent call to him he asked if I could come for a visit, I could only say yes and worry about the logistics later. His only wish was to go fishing for a while.
Straight away my mind wrestled with how, when, who can help make this happen. Do we do Luna Park, Taronga Zoo, Movies, SCG Test Match, Aquarium??? Too many things too little time. Finally I decided we’d follow his wish and do half a day of fishing and half a day doing whatever he felt up to.
I put a Facebook post on our page that was shared by many and I was lucky enough for two complete strangers to jump at the chance to help. These two guys planned everything for our morning of fishing. They even took the time to find some fishing rods, tackle and clothing to be donated to our little mate. They sat and yarned with him and his mate that made the trip to Sydney just to make it even more special for him. These guys rigged up the lines, hooked the fish and shared their vast fishing/life experiences.
Another response came from a young country boy who is currently part of The Bulldogs NRL team. He volunteered to transport the young fella from Westmead to our fishing spot (Rose Bay). He also stayed for half the day just chatting with the young fellas. It must be mentioned that he was meant to have gone away for a weekend getaway early that day but put it back in order to give the young fellas a great experience.
So we caught some fish, yarned, ate ice-creams and laughed. Each of the blokes showing a genuine interest in both of the lads. As Lunchtime came our inspiring volunteers had to depart leaving myself and the two boys with the rest of the day to fill in.
I gave the boys some potential ideas whilst in “The Big Smoke” and none of us could decide. Eventually we thought a ride on the ferry to Circular Quay might inspire us to come to a decision. So we jumped on the next Ferry (not aware of where it was headed). Turns out we did a lap around the coastline for an hour or so. I was a bit worried that I had wasted precious time until I looked at the boys with the biggest grins on their faces who were having a ball just people watching and enjoying the sites.
Now we were faced with the decision of which of the 500 awesome spots we should grab something to eat at. Much to my disappointment McDonalds was the only option as far as they were concerned.
The clock was ticking and the chance to do something spectacular for the boys was fading. We continued wandering around the Harbour watching the buskers and admiring the sites until they came to me and asked if they could please fish near the Harbour Bridge.
I hesitated as I did not think more fishing would constitute an ‘awesome’ day, but they seemed genuine in pursuing this.
Sitting under the Harbour Bridge looking out at the Opera House, Cruise Ships and the world passing by, I saw two mates without a trouble in the world. It was only then that it dawned on me that all of those “exciting/awesome” things I had thought I should do with them would have only served as a distraction and wasted the little time we had available together.
We sat and yarned about his health battle, footy, girls, family etc. Much of it was spent with those two hanging crap on me! This was exactly what he needed and turns out exactly what I needed.
It may sound selfish but I can honestly say that this was a day I will remember for a long time. I know that the boys genuinely appreciated the efforts made by the strangers we only met that morning that we now call mates.
This Special Day reiterated 3 things to me-
1) Keeping things simple works best.
2) There are soooo many good people that want to help. BTTB may become a platform to link those that want to help with those that need help.
3) Boys To The Bush is changing the lives of so many. What has surprised me most is that one of the lives changed most, is mine…
The students were frequently out of their comfort zone and had to display resilience, teamwork and maturity to deal with the situations they faced....
I have done this because the program changes lives; and not just the lives of the boys themselves but those of their parents, siblings and friends....