12-year-old Mitchell Bond got the opportunity to run onto the field with Geelong Cats captain, Joel Selwood and the team on Saturday in front of more than 30,000 fans.
We are pleased to have been able to facilitate this once in a lifetime opportunity for Mitchell and his family, made possible by nib health funds sponsorship of the Cats and through our partnership with Disability Sport & Recreation.
It was not only an experience of a lifetime for Mitchell, but also an extremely proud moment for the rest of his family who joined him on the field.
"Mitchell loves his AFL and I have no doubt that he would be playing the game if he could. So to have the chance to run onto the ground with some of his heroes is a moment that will live with all of us for a long time," Mitchell's father, Scott Bond, said.
"He was just beaming when he ran onto the field and we haven't been able to wipe the smile off his face since."
nib foundation established a multi-year partnership with Disability Sport & Recreation in late 2014 to develop the Score! Program, an online platform which is connecting the one million Victorians with a disability, as well as their carers and families, with accessible and inclusive sport and recreation programs.
Mitchell contracted Transverse Myelitis at just six months of age. The neurological disorder caused by inflammation across the spinal cord left him with partial paralysis of the legs, which requires him to use crutches or a wheelchair to get around. But Mitchell doesn't let his disability deter him from enjoying and actively participating in a range of sports including wheelchair basketball and wheelchair racing.
Our hope in supporting the Score! initiative is that many more young Victorians like Mitchell will benefit from active participation in sport, and that this online platform will assist parents and carers to find the right fit for their child.
For more information about our partnership with Disability Sport and Recreation and the Score! program, click here