A Winning Combination

Dreams Project HammondCare Foundation Mick Tigers 3For Mick, a lifelong Tigers supporter, reliving the excitement the 2005 Grand Final victory with Premiership heroes was a Dream come true.

If you’re a crazy footy fan, meeting any of your team idols is awesome at the best of times. 

When it’s been a dream to relive the excitement of a memorable Grand Final victory with a couple of your favourite team’s Premiership heroes – well, you might just be left dreaming.

Not so for palliative care patient and lifelong Tigers supporter, 54-year-old Mick. On Tuesday 16 June 2021, his dream became reality thanks to three 2005 Wests Tigers Grand Final players – Robert (Robbie) Farah, John Skandalis and Pat Richards – who made a special visit to Mick at HammondCare’s Greenwich Hospital.

The visit was arranged for Mick as part of HammondCare’s Dreams Project, a therapeutic program that helps palliative patients reconnect with a part of their life that holds great meaning and purpose.

A palliative care journey is different for everyone. Every ‘Dream’ therefore is special and unique, and helps bring moments of love and joy for patients while creating heartfelt memories for families.

For Mick and his family, the love of the game and the Club ties them together. His daughter, born soon after the 2005 Premiership win, bears ‘Tiger’ as her second name. Mick’s a true supporter and his memories of games and key moments from years ago are crystal clear.

Mick’s lung cancer required his admission to the palliative care ward at Greenwich and initially he struggled to engage. When hospital staff unlocked his sporting passion for Wests Tigers, they set the wheels in motion for his ‘dream’ visit. 

The anticipation of the visit created a sense of hope and generated such excitement. Mick decorated his room with Wests Tigers memorabilia and pinned a NSW State of Origin shirt to the wall in preparation for the visit.

It’s Tuesday morning and Mick’s wearing his Tigers jersey – but it’s missing Pat’s autograph.

Dreams Project HammondCare Foundation Mick Tigers 1The guys knock on his door and with a very cool “how you going boys”, Mick jumps out of bed, takes charge of the introductions and leads everyone out on the veranda – scoring Pat’s signature on the way!

And so, like a bunch of mates who hadn’t seen each other for a while, they settled in for a long ‘locker room’ chat – with lots of laughs and digs at each other – while reliving highlights of the 2005 Grand Final and dissecting the recent Origin win by NSW.

“I was absolutely stoked that Robbie, Pat and John came to the hospital to see me, and really appreciative that they took the time to show how much they care," said Mick. "We had a great chat about the 2005 winning Premiership and my memories of Leichhardt Oval.

“I was especially pleased to get Pat’s signature."

Bringing this dream to reality meant a great deal to Mick. During the visit, his smile beamed from ear-to-ear and his eyes were constantly sparkling. He was flying high after the visit and the happiness he felt brought him great joy. He was truly grateful for this special ‘Dream’ and has warmly thanked everyone involved.

Pat Richards was pleased he was able to be involved in bringing life to Mick’s dream. “Having recently lost my mum to this disease, I know what his family is going through.

“Mick is very inspiring in the way he has handled this, and I was glad I got to meet him and help put a smile on his face."

John Skandalis reflects on his experience. “Truly humbling – an absolute honour and a privilege to spend a couple of hours with Mick. His passion for the club was unwavering and the opportunity to meet and relive the glory days was inspiring.”

 

Dreams Project HammondCare Foundation Mick Tigers 2 full

 

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