The foundation of South Sydney culture has always been built on looking after your mates and being submersed in your community.
We rally behind each other during adversity and it’s only by banding together in our show of mateship and camaraderie, where we come through the other side.
Tim Kirkby was a man who lived his life to the fullest and epitomised the South Sydney spirit. Born into a Rabbitohs membership, Tim bled red and green from the very beginning. His father Michael says the connection to South Sydney came from the early days of his grandfather.
“We are five generations of South Sydney supporters, it’s all we’ve ever known,” Mr Michael Kirkby said.
“Each year my father would buy eight or nine Memberships for the family, it was our way of coming together.”
A regular Aussie kid who loved the beach, footy and his mates, Tim was healthy and active growing up. A long serving member of the Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club, he competed at State and National levels and had a passion for helping others in need.
At the age of 19 though, his life changed.
Tim was diagnosed with the deadly cancer Lymphoma. Just like the fighting spirit of the Rabbitoh, Tim went into remission not once but twice and with the love of his life Emily by his side, he started a young family of his own.
Tim and Emily married and just two weeks before the birth of their Son, Arlo, they received the devastating news that the cancer had returned - this time a rare form of clear cell carcinoma. After battling for another 12 months, on the 14th of May (just one-week shy of Arlo’s first birthday) Tim passed away. He was only 28.
By his side was wife Emily and son Arlo, Mum and Dad (Jo and Michael), brother and sister-in-law (Ben and Amy) with Grandparents Darryl and Beth waiting outside (due to COVID-19 restrictions).
His father Michael said one of his favourite memories with Tim was going to the 2014 Grand Final together as a family.
“There would have been 12 of us and I remember landing that morning on a flight from Rome on purpose so we wouldn’t miss the game,” Mr Kirkby said.
“We were all there waiting at Central Station for the Sam Burgess Express to pick us up and take us to ANZ.
“That night was such a special moment.”
Watching your team play with your son, or with your father is something you will always cherish. For Tim’s sake he was fortunate enough to take Arlo to his first game last year, with father Michael and brother Ben by his side.
Now the tragedy has left little Arlo without a father, and Emily without a husband. It’s up to us to help get behind them during this unfathomable time.
Michael has set up a GoFundMe page to help Emily and Arlo live the lives Tim would have wanted them to live; one where Arlo has opportunity to live his life to the fullest, just as his father did.