Rhys’ friends call on doppelganger Efron for men's health
A MOVEMBER campaign by more than 120 Northern Rivers friends of the late Rhys McNaughton is looking to garner the support of Hollywood a-lister Zac Efron.
The talented sportsman and occasional model's friend, James Healey, contacted US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres on Facebook for her help to get Rhys' doppelganger - Efron- to spread the issue of men's health globally.
"When he first rocked up to University (College) from day one he shone light into all of our lives, and whispers began to spread that 'the real' Zac Efron had arrived at Uni," Mr Healey posted.
"I completely agreed he had un-paralleled, absolutely identical looks to our favourite High School Musical Star."
Friends said the popular rugby player rarely showed signs of mental health issues.
"I mean as far as the majority and myself are concerned Rhys never had any known issues or never showed signs of weakness," Mr Healey said.
"I was talking to probably his closest mate just last night, and he did mention that despite Rhys appearing all good and happy he did have a few moments of sadness and depression, and did talk - but only in small snippets of hard times.
"However, it was just brushed off with that classic 'everything will be alright' chat."
The doppelganger tag stuck with Rhys and he soon earned the nickname 'Zeffa'.
"I wouldn't often do this, and I don't even know how responsive celebrity pages are but I am going through a tough time at the moment and want to share a story with you about my friend Rhys…. affectionately known as Zeffa," Mr Healey wrote.
"Rhys was an absolute legend, with a zest for life I had never seen in a person before, a fierce and competitive spirit on the rugby pitch and a caring and nurturing soft-side that any male would be ashamed to admit, Zefron had looks which could undoubtedly match yours."
Currently the Movember campaing is ranked second, nationally, having raised more than $25,000.
"For support, awareness of the pain and suffering anxiety and depression brings to the men around us," is the motivation written on the Movember fundraiser webpage.
"For our gorgeous boy who took his own life this weekend.
"We hurt more then you'd ever know.
"If anyone could look good in a moustache it was you.
"If I could grow one I would to show how serious this is.
"Forever in our hearts, fly high and stay with us always."
Mr Healey is yet to hear back from Ms DeGeneres and intends trying to contact Efron's management.
Family and friends of Mr McNaughton celebrated his life on Monday, at the Lake Macquarie Memorial Park Chapel, near Newcastle.
Rhys was the much loved son of Jodie, cherished friend of Holly, loving brother to Ethan, Ross, Max, Darcy and Louise.
He was the adored grandson of Penny and Tony and nephew of Troy and Chad.
Rhys will be sadly missed by Bob and Brendan.
To donate to the Movember campaign visit https://au.movember.com/team/2061121
For help and support 24/7 call Lifeline on 131 114.