RAISING HOPE: (back l-r) South Grafton Rebel Austin Cooper, Orara Valley Axemen coach Col Speed, Travis Daley, Nextra Grafton's Rose Driver and league tag player Kyleisha Hookey-Skinner get together to help blind swimmer May Daley.
RAISING HOPE: (back l-r) South Grafton Rebel Austin Cooper, Orara Valley Axemen coach Col Speed, Travis Daley, Nextra Grafton's Rose Driver and league tag player Kyleisha Hookey-Skinner get together to help blind swimmer May Daley. Adam Hourigan

Clubs drive in support of May's swim dreams

RUGBY LEAGUE: Grafton swimmer May Daley has made a habit of breaking down the barriers that stand between her and sport.

Born with Leber Congenital Amaurosis, Daley has been blind since birth, but it is something she won't let hold her back.

The 14-year-old is full of energy in the water and after putting more focus into the competitive side of swimming, under coach Jo Clare, is ready to take on the world.

But there was just one more barrier standing in her way: finances.

Since the introduction of the NDIS, the funding that used to help Daley enjoy her sport has been wiped and it has left her aunties to foot the expenses out of their own pension.

But when Orara Valley Axemen coach Col Speed heard of the plight of the Daley family, he knew he had to help.

That has led the Axemen to conduct a major fundraising drive at their home game this week against the club that has been the home to many Daleys -the South Grafton Rebels.

"I have know the Daley family for probably a decade now through our love of league and have always known May through that,” Speed said.

"I ran into her Aunty Kelly the other day who told me May was going to be competing in Sydney and I just asked how they fund all the travel and competing.

"To my alarming reaction the funds come out of her aunties' pensions. I was absolutely gutted and shocked that these ladies have had to take on that responsibility.”

Speed was swift to act and got in contact with Rebels secretary Terry Power to see what the clubs could do to support Daley. The idea for a bucket run at Coramba tomorrow was born.

"I think this is more of a community thing. I think that is what rugby league should be about, helping out the people in our small communities,” Speed said.

Daley's uncle and South Grafton Rebels favourite Travis Daley said the family was floored by the support shown by both clubs.

"When the funding was cut we were scratching our heads as to how we would come up with the money to get her to Sydney to keep competing,” he said.

"I think it works out to be about $1500 each trip down to Sydney with travel costs and accommodation so it is not easy.”

"These funds will go a long way to helping her.”

Rose Driver from Nextra news agency in Grafton Shoppingworld was first to kick off the funds when the business donated $100.

"I just think it is the right thing to do,” she said. I don't like it when people that do have an ability are not being seen because of finances.”

May has one more swim camp at Ryde next month before she competes at the swimming meet in Sydney in September.



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