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Rabbitohs hooker, Damien Cook, is looking to make an impact off the field as well as on it this season after taking on an ambassador role with The Foundation of Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST).
The new Rabbitohs recruit became involved with the organisation after meeting Frank Caracoglia, whose son, Jacob, has the rare genetic disorder which affects speech and mobility, as well as causing significant intellectual and developmental delays.
“I first met Frank – whose part of the FAST organisation – through my manager Mario and we thought that we could do a bit more.
“They eventually asked me to become an ambassador for the foundation, which I was very honoured to take on.”
“It’s all about spreading awareness for the illness.”
As part of his commitment to the foundation, the Rabbitohs rake has started writing the names of individuals that are affected by the condition on his wrist before he plays.
“I started this year. I’ve sort of taken it off Trent Hodkinson’s ‘Kick for Kids’.
“All I do is write one of the names of the ‘Angels of Angelman Syndrome’ – someone who has the illness – on my wrist during the game and that brings a little bit of joy to their family.”
The dedication shown by Cook extends from the playing field to his everyday life, with the Rabbitoh also making an effort to meet families affected by the disorder by inviting them to training sessions.
“After training we let them run loose on the field. They’re kids with plenty of energy,” smiled Cook.
“The families were down here as well and got to meet some of the players, which brings a bit of joy.
“What they have to do is hard.”
Cook takes the responsibility of being an ambassador for the cause very seriously and believes that role has provided him with extra motivation and inspiration when playing.
“It does give me a bit of strength while I’m out there,” said Cook.
“I am representing them as well as the Rabbitohs.”
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