iSelect Gold Coast Titans front-rower Luke Douglas may have something special to celebrate tonight when he plays his 200th consecutive NRL match, without missing one with injury since making his debut for Cronulla in 2006.
At close hand cheering him on during the milestone match will be a group of families who see Douglas as special in their eyes, and it has nothing to do with his footy ability.
Luke has long been a supporter of many causes, including Down Syndrome sufferers and their families, since his late mother Trish worked as a teacher’s aide in his hometown of Yamba, particularly with children of special needs.
So he was in his element when about 40 members of Down Syndrome Association of Queensland parents and carers attended Titans’ training on Tuesday where they met the players, watched them train, and participated in a range of activities including coaching clinics, face painting, hoola-hooping and a jumping castle. Afterwards they enjoyed a barbeque at Titans HQ where trained staff conducted some of the educational programs the Titans deliver in schools.
Tomorrow night 26 lucky children with Down Syndrome will accompany the players from both sides onto the field when they walk out for the big Titans-Broncos local derby clash while 233 DSAQ members watch from the stands wearing custom DSAQ shirts.
The iSelect Gold Coast Titans are partnering with Down Syndrome Association of Queensland (DSAQ) for the first time in a bid to raise awareness for the volunteer based organisation.
The mission of DSAQ is to build community awareness and to support, and advocate and empower people with Down Syndrome in order for them to take their rightful place as valuable and contributing members of their local and global communities.
Luke will dedicate his 200th appearance to Trish and her great community spirit and her inspiration lives on through his benevolence with several community initiatives, including DSAQ.