A weekend of Rugby League across the UK and Australia dedicated to supporting former player Mose Masoe has raised more than £100,000 for his family.
The Rugby League community came together over the Easter weekend with fans in UK urged to buy ‘virtual tickets’, whilst a ‘We Stand With Mose’ campaign was launched across the NRL in Australia by the Men of League Foundation.
All proceeds are to go to the Mose Masoe Foundation, which will firstly support the 31-year-old Samoan himself and then go on to support others who suffer life-changing spinal injuries playing rugby.
Incredible support was seen from the game’s leading bodies on both sides of the world, and from clubs, players and supporters.
In the UK, Mose was himself a special guest of Sky Sports for Thursday night’s coverage of the weekend’s opening matches, which included a clash between his former club St Helens and current club Hull Kingston Rovers.
Over the weekend, all Super League clubs supported the cause and a number carried his name on their number 10 jerseys, which were then put up for auction. Other teams ‘paid to play’ and some stars auctioned their shirts and boots to further boost funds.
Clubs and players shared videos on social media urging fans to back the campaign and sending messages to Mose and his family.
It is support which Mose and his partner Carissa today said had been ‘overwhelming and humbling’, adding that they were ‘truly thankful to each and every person’ that has supported them.
“What has happened over this past couple of weeks, with the forming of the Foundation and now over these past few days, has been truly overwhelming,” said Mose.
“It is really humbling to see so many people, from former playing colleagues and opponents to fans of all clubs showing their love to our family. We are truly thankful to each and every person who has supported us. It is something we’ll never forget.”
Campaign has surpassed initial fundraising target – but continues to support Mose and others
Mike Smith, the Vice President of the RFL, has been heavily involved in the development of the Mose Masoe Foundation as a former Hull KR chief executive, and says the support shown has surpassed expectations.
He revealed the target had been to raise around £90,000, which would have been equivalent to a ‘virtual sell out’ of 18,000 £5 virtual ticket sales at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens, where this weekend’s Super League fixtures were played.
He said: “The support across the sport over the weekend has been absolutely incredible. We set ourselves a big target and to have beaten that is tremendous. We have been amazed by the media coverage of this campaign and it has really said a great deal about our sport.
“It shows the love for Mose as a person but also the strength and togetherness of Rugby League. It has been a weekend when we’ve seen the sport at its best, as players, coaches, administrators and supporters of all clubs, as well as the media and everyone else involved in the game, have rallied behind Mose and his family. Everyone involved in Rugby League can feel proud.
“On behalf of the Foundation and the RFL, I’d like to thank our broadcast partners Sky Sports, the BBC and others in the media both in Super League and the NRL for raising the profile of the Mose Masoe Round and helping us achieve this incredible figure in a matter of days.
“Our work continues now as we still need to raise a significant amount more firstly to support Mose, as it is likely he will need lifelong support, and then of course others in the future too. What we have done over the past few days is lay the platform to achieve something really special.
“For that reason the texting donation system will remain running alongside the Go Fund Me Page, and we have exciting plans which again can involve all across Rugby League in the UK and Australia, which we will be announcing soon.”
Australia’s ‘We Stand With Mose’ campaign hailed a huge success
In Australia, a huge ‘We Stand With Mose’ campaign was supported by the sports’ leading stars, with the South Sydney Rabbitohs even running out in Mose Masoe wigs ahead of their clash with Canterbury Bulldogs.
The campaign was led by the Men of League Foundation, which said: “We are proud to stand arm in arm with the UK rugby league community and the Mose Masoe Foundation for this vital cause.
“The courage displayed by Mose over these past 13 months is a true reflection of his will and determination to fight for a better future for himself and especially his family. He will no doubt play an important role in helping others overcome adversity through his own experience, so it has been our privilege to lead our campaign in Australia alongside the efforts of everyone in the UK.
“We have raised just over $90,000 (£50,000) and expect we will reach $100,000 very soon. We extend our best wishes and congratulations to everyone involved in the Mose Masoe Foundation, his club Hull KR and all other fundraising efforts in the UK.
“Hopefully between us, we can help Mose and his family by providing a foundation to re-build his life. The love and support shown by the Australian and New Zealand public, the media, NRL Clubs and his many friends and former team mates in this past week has been everything we could have wished for, but we still have a way to go yet, so we look forward to keeping up the momentum. To all the donors around the world, thank you.”
Mose, 31, suffered a C4/C5 incomplete spinal cord injury last January which led to him being diagnosed tetraplegic – one of the worst forms of paralysis - meaning he has partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso.
Whilst some people experience improvements in symptoms, and others may regain partial or complete control over the affected areas with time, there is currently no way to reverse the damage done.
Mose can still walk only a few unaided steps and any brief activity leaves him shattered. He still has no sensation or dexterity in his hands.
His partner Carrisa has had to become his full-time carer alongside looking after their three young children, providing daily assistance with tasks such as personal hygiene and going to the toilet, as his and bladder and bowels do not function naturally.
Despite much-appreciated support from the Rugby League Benevolent Fund and Rugby League Cares already, Mose and his family are facing the prospect of potentially being left hundreds of thousands of pounds short of what they need to live in some form of comfort, even after an expected insurance payout.
The campaign has seen former England footballing legend Stuart Pearce join television presenter and comedian Adam Hills and Sky Sports Rugby League Correspondent Jenna Brooks as an Ambassador for the Mose Masoe Foundation.
Fans can still choose to donate either £5, £10, £15, or £20 via text.
Text 70085 and;
Text 5MOSE to donate £5
Text 10MOSE to donate £10
Text 15MOSE to donate £15
Text 20MOSE to donate £20
Texts cost amount donated plus one standard rate message
Donations can also be made at the Foundation’s Go Fund Me Page