Campese wins prestigious award

OneCommAwards 13093013.jpg Photo: [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训.a Terry Campese with the Ken Stephen Medal. Photo: nrlphotos苏州美甲美睫培训

Canberra Raiders skipper Terry Campese could have been excused for wallowing in self-pity after injury wiped out two years of his career.

Instead, he deservedly won the Ken Stephen Medal at the NRL’s One Community awards on Monday after launching his own charity to help people worse off than him.

When knee problems ruined his 2011 and 2012 seasons he set up the Terry Campese Foundation, which this year has raised about $100,000 for local causes.

After a time in his career he would prefer to forget, Campese, 29, is aware how fortunate he is.

After a Raiders season littered with mass sackings and off-field turmoil, Campese’s work is one of the many feel-good stories gone unnoticed.

”That’s what my passion is, trying to help people in need,” Campese said in a video placed on the club’s website after his nomination earlier this year.

”We’ve helped a few people along the way, it’s definitely one of those things which puts a smile on your face, and puts life in perspective as well in how lucky we are.”

Campese used some of the initial funds raised to help fund a wheelchair for Queanbeyan seven-year-old Bailey Whitton, who was born with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and Tourette syndrome.

He invited Bailey’s family to a Raiders game, something his mother Tracy said the family would always remember.

”I was blown away Terry introduced Bailey to his family, it meant a lot to me he included Bailey and thought of him as normal,” she said.

”He’s teaching his kids that others with disabilities are normal, they’re to be included.”

Campese received $5000 for himself and the same amount for a charity of his choice for winning the game’s biggest honour for community work.

He edged out St George Illawarra captain Ben Creagh and Newcastle skipper Kurt Gidley. Fifteen players had been nominated for the award.

Campese is an ambassador for children’s charities Ronald McDonald House, CanTeen and Raising Hope.

Like many of his Raiders teammates he is also heavily involved with Menslink’s ”Silence Is Deadly” campaign, which targets teenage male depression.

”I’m very honoured to have won the Ken Stephen Medal and represent the huge number of players who spend time in the community helping those less fortunate than us,” Campese said.

”I didn’t set up my foundation for the accolades. The recognition I love is seeing people’s face when you know you’ve made a difference.”

It is the second successive year Campese has been nominated. North Queensland captain Johnathan Thurston won the medal last season.

Terry Campese Foundation director Pamela Slocum admitted on Campese’s video she ”had a few hesitations” when Campese first approached her about setting up a charity.

She now knows she needn’t have worried.

”It’s hard to run these events every year and I thought I hope he’s really into it and not just putting his name to it, because often that is the case,” she said.

”He’s smart enough to know the name Terry Campese does help a lot, but that’s not the reason he does it.”

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