The purpose of Hearts in Union Rugby Foundation Australia (“Hearts in Union”) is expressed in the phrase: “Helping rugby help its own”
Hearts in Union is a charity that is all about assisting those players who have suffered severe spinal injury during a rugby game. Rugby is a wonderful game played by people who enjoy the spirit of “mateship” and “fair play”. Unfortunately, some players through a freak accident have their lives changed forever. Spinal injuries place a physical, emotional and financial strain on the player for the rest of their lives.
We aim to ensure those severely injured players who are suffering financial hardship receive the best possible support throughout their lives.
Hearts in Union was created in early 2007, after the Directors had became aware of the need for assistance through a friend, Rocky Mileto. Rocky suffered a severe spinal injury during a rugby game in 1996 and has subsequently rebuilt his life and been an inspiration to many other injured rugby players. However, as a result of his injury, like other injured players, Rocky must replace his method of transportation (his wheelchair) every five years. These wheelchairs need to be custom made, are very expensive and simply beyond the reach of many injured rugby players.
The reality was that most countries with strong rugby communities (including the United Kingdom, New Zealand & South Africa) had recognised the ongoing need to assist their injured rugby players. Independent charitable organisations had long been established in each of these countries. However, injured Australian players lacked any such direct support of their own.
This area of need prompted the directors to join Rocky in establishing Hearts in Union, to assist other Australian injured players in financial need who require wheelchairs or other items to assist with and improve their day to day activities.
Hearts in Union is very fortunate to have a founder (Rocky Mileto), a Patron (John Eales), and Ambassadors (Simon Poidevin & Adam Freier) who are rugby people of the highest caliber.