Lealiifano championing cause close to his heart

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Brumbies co-captain Christian Lealiifano has led the way for the Brumbies on a new charity partnership.

The Brumbies will be donating $20,000 to the Domestic Violence Crisis Service if they can attract 20,000 people to their match with the Waratahs and it’s a cause close to Lealiifano’s heart.

The 28-year-old is a DVCS champion and said he hoped the team could help to affect change in this arena.

“Being such a masculine environment of rugby and not many men talk about it or things like that,” he said.

“If we can try and create change that way to be able to get people to talk about it and seek help if they need and it’s just trying as best we can to help.”

Lealiifano has visited picnics with children who have been victims of violence and said he was keen to continue his efforts.

“Just to put smiles on kids’ faces when you've been through a bit of adversity is nice,” he said.

“Any way you can take their mind off the bigger issues I’ll do that.”

The Brumbies squad voted to support the DVCS in their second match of the year as part of a longer term partnership.

DVCS executive director Mirjana Wilson said the Brumbies’ support would help them extend their support to more people in the community.

“It gets the message through to perhaps people we haven’t managed to capture before and reaches Canberrans in a much broader way,” she said.

Wilson said the DVCS had helped roughly 1600 people in 2015 and a potential $20,000 injection would be crucial to growing that number.

“Things like a children and young people outreach program to help children recover from violent families,” he said.

“Helping them to access therapeutic services and also things like playing for school camps or excursions and camps if their parents aren’t able to.

Wilson said Lealiifano had already been making a positive impact with his involvement in the service.

“The way he interacts with them it gives those kids to see there’s other ways of doing life there than in a family setting where there’s been violence,” he said.

“He’s a wonderful role model. The kids just love him and he gets in there and he does things with them and it’s great.”