OPEN LETTER TO TOM LONERGAN
By Ben Jensen ALLAN TURNER, founder of Zaidee's Rainbow Foundation has written the following open letter to Tom Lonergan, Geelong's courageous winner of the Norm Goss Medal for the best on ground in Sunday's VFL Grand Final. Lonergan nearly lost his life just over twelve months ago, losing a kidney during an AFL match against Melbourne at Skilled Stadium.
Then 22, Lonergan was playing in his seventh AFL game, and appeared to have found his niche as a utility, mainly playing in the backline. Backing back into a pack to make a gallant mark attempt in spite of the approaching Melbourne forward Brad Miller and Geelong defender Matt Egan, something seen half a dozen times a match, Lonergan was struck in the back and immediately fell to the ground. Spectators nearby immediately sensed danger, declaring he'd have broken ribs, but nobody foresaw the life threatening events of that evening.
He may only have one kidney, but Tom sure isn't small
hearted. Just weeks following his life-changing experience, Tom became
an ambassador of Zaidee's Rainbow Foundation, a foundation that aims
to raise awareness of tissue and organ donation. Zaidee Turner tragically
died aged just 7 years old. As a registered organ donor, Zaidee was
able to help save the life of others. Her parents, Kim and Allan Turner,
developed the idea of rainbow bootlaces, which most AFL fans would now
be aware of.