Emotions fly high as Eagles surprise caring Jo
FROM celebrating last year's grand final triumph to sharing her team-minded mother's pain, Lara Boon has ridden a rollercoaster of emotion.
Those intense feelings resurfaced again but this time while providing a wonderful surprise and surrounded by the caring spirit at the Ipswich Eagles club.
Popular footballer Lara organised a special game day event for her mum Jo, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) shortly after she shared in Ipswich's historic premiership success last season.
Eager to honour her mum and raise valuable funds for MND research, Lara and her teammates got down to business.
The fantastic initiative was rewarded at Limestone Park on Saturday when more than $4000 was raised as the high-flying Eagles women completed another outstanding win.
The defending premiers outclassed Redcliffe 10.8-68 to 2.1-13 to keep their three-match unbeaten record intact.
For Lara, that was a terrific way to end a successful day after Jo was invited to the afternoon of activities unaware of what was being planned.
Lara appreciated all the support she has received.
"This disease has impacted my family dramatically and by holding a day like we did on Saturday not only raises funds to help find a cure in the future but just to see everyone come together and show love and kindness,'' Lara said.
"She (Jo) struggles to walk and do the basics now so it was pretty hard to see. It just went from her being perfectly normal to just not being able to do anything without help.''
Lara remembered how difficult it was seeing her mum admitted to Greenslopes Private Hospital just weeks after the Eagles celebrated their first QFAW Division 2 North grand final success.
"Mum woke up one day not being able to speak properly having very slurred speech,'' the former Brisbane Roar W-League goalkeeper recalled.
"After a number of test and appointments with neurologists, mum was officially diagnosed with progressive bulbar palsy motor neurone disease (MND) in October 2019.
"Growing up, mum has always been involved in my sports and this didn't change when I went to Ipswich Eagles last year.
"Throughout the season we needed a sports trainer from time to time as our full-time trainer was undergoing study to be a paramedic and was unable to make some games.
"Without hesitation, mum put up her hand to fill in for the odd times our regular trainer couldn't give up her Saturday in order to help the teams out.''
So Jo had become an important part of the Eagles team.
She had been working as a nurse for more than a decade when diagnosed with MND.
"When mum got diagnosed all of Ipswich Eagles got around me and my family, both the men's and women's teams,'' Lara said.
"I knew I wanted to do something for mum regarding my footy to help raise money and awareness for MND but I never imagined it would amount to this.''
Lara hopes ongoing support of MND research will help future sufferers better, including remission.
"I'm kind of hoping that they may get to a point where they can have that option for people,'' she said.
She said funds were also valuable to assist families with walkers and "pretty much any equipment that you could think that his disease affects you.''
While Saturday's special occasion had a serious goal, the Eagles footballers also had some fun.
Some of the funds raised came from an ice bucket challenge where players and coaches were auctioned off and had cold water tipped over them.
Other funds came from players buying MND socks and the women wearing fight MND warm-up singlets donated by BIM (Boon Inspection Management), a MND stall selling MND Queensland merchandise and from a VIP tent set up for Jo and family members.
Out on the field, Lara moved from her regular fullback role to upfront and she obliged kicking a meaningful goal.
Lara was also thrilled to set up a goal for supportive partner Kayla Tinkler.
"Hopefully the season keeps going and doesn't get cancelled due to this COVID stuff,'' she said.
"As long as the season continues, we're in for a real good shot at making it two in a row.
"We've got a young team but we've bonded really well early on and we seem to have that
consistency all over the park so I definitely think we are a good chance to back up our title this year.''
In the earlier games on Saturday, both Ipswich men's sides suffered disappointing losses.
Hyped for a big game against Redcliffe after a gritty win the previous week, the Eagles never got into the contest, trailing 76-21 at halftime.
The Eagles Reserves only booted one goal in their 59 point defeat.
But as everyone left Limestone Park they were inspired by the efforts of Lara and her wonderful gesture to help her mum and other MND sufferers.
QFA Division 2 North: Redcliffe 19.7-121 def Ipswich Eagles 10.9-69.
Reserves: Redcliffe 11.6-72 def Ipswich 1.7-13.
QFAW Division 2 North: Ipswich Eagles 10.8-68 def Redcliffe 2.1-13.