Hurley’s special gift
Michael Hurley has helped change the life of six-year-old Sophie Halacas and her family, presenting her with a stroller through the MAD (Make a Difference) Foundation.
Sophie was born with Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, an intellectual disability leaving her non-verbal, hyperactive and unable to navigate her environment rationally or physically.
Through Hurley’s role as a MAD ambassador, he was able to gift Sophie with a specially designed stroller that would allow her to participate in everyday activities.
The MAD Foundation helps disabled and disadvantaged children and young people by funding life-changing support equipment and services.
Hurley said he was fortunate to be involved with MAD Foundation and support families like Sophie’s.
“It’s pretty special for me to be able to meet Sophie and her family, obviously her family has had quite a tough time and funding can be hard to come by,” Hurley said.
“To be able to bring her to The Hangar today and have MAD provide the chair for Sophie is fantastic – it’s nice to be a part of it.
“It really gives you great perspective. I have lots of nieces and nephews, so I spend a lot of time with children and to be able to help make Sophie and her family’s life that little bit easier is a huge privilege.”
Alison Palframan (Sophie’s mother) said the new stroller will allow Sophie to enjoy activities with friends that she was previously unable to.
“At her kindergarten they have a program where they go down to the creek and explore the environment. Without the stroller she was unable to go with her class, but now she can be a part of that activity, so it’s really special,” Alison said.
“Leaving the house was extremely hard prior to having the stroller. She can now be comfortable in her chair, she can get out and about and explore the community.”
Hurley has been an ambassador for MAD Foundation for five years, but his support of the foundation goes back almost a decade.
“I think it was about nine or ten years ago that I got involved with the MAD Foundation. It started off with a cricket game I played in and from there I continued to support the charity, becoming the ambassador about five years ago,” Hurley said.
“As a footballer, I believe we have the responsibly to use our platform to promote foundations like MAD, and help make a difference where possible by raising awareness and much needed funds.”
In 2016, Hurley shaved his luscious beard, raising over $35,000 for the MAD Foundation.
MAD Foundation president Damian Toohey said Hurley’s support was “fantastic”.
“Michael is heavily engaged and interested in helping situations like Sophie and her family,” Toohey said.
“He has directly done some fundraising for MAD, with his beard and dreadlocks being put to the chop to raise funds. He also stays in contact with a number of the children he has been able to help.
“He has been a huge ambassador for MAD and we are forever grateful for the work he does.”
To learn more about the MAD Foundation or donate, click here.