THE Gloucester rugby league community has rallied behind young Curtis Landers as he fights to recover from a freak injury suffered in a match two weeks ago.
Curtis, 15, suffered two fractured vertebrae attempting a tackle while playing for the Forster-Tuncurry Hawks in a match in Port Macquarie on May 24.
Following the accident Curtis was taken by ambulance to Port Macquarie Hospital and later transferred to Royal North Shore in Sydney.
Curtis has made some progress but is still in the early stages of his recovery. The extent of his injuries may not be known for some time. Parents Maree and Ned are maintaining a vigil at the bedside of their youngest child.
The promising young league player recently tried out for the Canberra Raiders and was keen to pursue a professional sporting career. He is also a talented cricketer.
Curtis grew up in Gloucester, playing rugby league with the Gloucester Junior Magpies, before moving to Forster about four years ago.
Forster-Tuncurry Junior Rugby League Club and the Gloucester Magpies formed a committee to plan, organise and facilitate fundraising activities for Curtis and have since established the Curtis Landers Appeal.
Trust fund set up for Curtis Landers and family click here
All money raised from the appeal will go directly to Curtis and his family to provide financial assistance on his road to recovery.
Gloucester Junior Magpies spokesman Rod Summerville said the club would do all it could to help Curtis and his family.
“The Landers family still has very strong connections to the Gloucester area,” he said.
“Maree and Ned are devastated but are staying strong for their son.”
The club has already held a raffle for the appeal and are planning a blue and white day in Gloucester on July 19 to coincide with the Junior Magpies taking on the Hawks.
“Curtis is a Canterbury supporter and we’ve contacted the Bulldogs to see if they’ll come on board with the concept,” Mr Summerville said.
“The plan is to hold both the under 9s and under 11s matches before first grade with all proceeds raised from the day to go towards the appeal.”
On Monday, 13 junior Magpies travelled to Tuncurry to film a segment for Curtis with popular Footy Show regular Darryl ‘The Big Marn’ Brohman.
Check out the gallery of pics from the Footy Show visit here
At the end of the segment the Magpies donated a $1000 cheque they received from Nissan to the Curtis Landers Appeal.
Normally the $1000 from the Footy Show goes to the junior club to spend on equipment. Mr Summerville said as well as the blue and white day, the club would lend its support to several fundraisers being planned by the Hawks.
There are plans to hold a function ahead of the second State of Origin clash along with an auction night that all Group 3 clubs, in partnership with the Gloucester and Forster-Tuncurry communities, will be able to attend.
The Magpies are seeking support and donations of gift items which will be auctioned in the coming months.
Donations of auction items and merchandise can be left at Valley Motors while donation buckets will be placed in various businesses across town.
Monetary donations to assist Curtis can be deposited into the following account:
Account Name: ‘Forster Tuncurry Junior Rugby League’
Account number: 213700588
Friends of Curtis have established a Facebook page called ‘Curtis Landers: Road to Recovery’, where people can leave messages of support.
More than 6000 people have already liked the page.
The Forster-Tuncurry Junior Rugby League Club’s homepage www.juniorhawks.com.au will have updates on Curtis and his recovery as they come to hand.