15 March 2023

Long-time Raiders fan Trevor thought his days of seeing his beloved team play live were over, until his Life Without Barriers Case Manager found another way.

Image: Trevor, wearing a Raiders cap and jacket, sits in his lounge room which is decorated with Raiders scarves and framed pictures on the wall.

When Mel walked into Trevor’s home for her regular visit and found him watching a Raiders game on the TV, she asked him if it was the game from the weekend.

“No, it’s just an old one. I sit here and watch every game I have access to over again,” said Trevor.

“I’ve been a member from the start, since 1982, and it’s like I built up a family-type relationship with them. To be able to sit here today and say I have been there since day one puts a smile on my face.”

Then he added, “I have a current membership, but I can’t attend the live games anymore.” His disappointment was plain for Mel to see and hear.

Trevor needs to be on portable oxygen around the clock. His health further declined recently after contracting COVID and having a minor stroke. He no longer drives, and when getting around, he needs assistance with his wheelchair to prevent his oxygen levels from escalating.

Mel is Trevor’s Life Without Barriers Case Manager, who works with Trevor as part of his home care package.

“Why do you have the membership if you can’t go to games?” Mel asked.

“I thought about cancelling my membership because I thought I would never be able to get to another game, but I didn’t because once a member, always a member." Trevor said.

"Even when COVID hit, the Canberra Raiders offered to refund the membership cost, but I left mine there as a donation.”

Trevor shared tales of his beloved ‘Green Machine’ (what fans call the Raiders).

“I remember the game against Parramatta in 1993, Ricky Stuart kicked the ball through and followed it through. Then in the tackle, Ricky Stuart broke his ankle, it was a horrible thing to see.

“I also attended the first game that the Canberra Raiders played in New Zealand. I remember we won that game because Laurie Daley scored off a forward pass, and I thought the New Zealander supporters around me were going to kill me when I cheered!!” he recounted gleefully.

As Mel listened, an idea was forming in her head. Trevor stays at home most of the time and has few family members, spending most of his time alone. It’s clear to see how much he loves his Green Machine team.

Trevor uses a wheelchair but can walk a short distance to a seat. Being able to go to the games again would give him a much-needed connection to his community and something to look forward to.

Before Mel left, she asked Trevor, “If Life Without Barriers can provide you with a support worker to take you there and back and assist you while you are there, would you like to attend the Raiders home games?”

Trevor’s face lit up as if Mel had told him he’d won a million dollars. He last attended a Canberra Raiders Game in 2020, before the COVID restrictions set in.

He said, “I remember I was in the Grandstand, and it was difficult to get to my seat due to my mobility, so I changed my membership to the seat I have now, which would be easier access.”

Mel contacted the Canberra Raiders to explain Trevor’s situation. She asked if a companion card could be allocated to Trevor’s membership to allow Trevor to attend the games with his support worker. The Raiders were happy to help their long-time supporter.

Trevor is now looking forward to the excitement and atmosphere of the live game and planning what he will do.

“When I used to go to the live games, I would have a meat pie and a soft drink - I’m looking forward to that. I’d always sit in the middle of the grandstand, that’s the only place I will sit. Definitely not behind the goal post, I need to see my team play the field.

"I will wear my Raiders gear and colours. And hey, if the Raiders want to throw in a jersey, jacket, or something for this long-time supporter, I would be happy for that!” said Trevor laughing.

“At home, I’d watch the game with my bear Bradley, a Christmas gift from my brother. I have to control Bradley because he gets very excited about the game. I have to break it to Bradley that we won’t be watching the next game together.

“To be able to see the games live means everything to me. Being there is being part of the game, part of the Green Machine – it is everything I can wish for."

"I’m very grateful to Mel and her team for helping make this happen,” he said.

Mel is happy Trevor has something to look forward to.

“I am so thankful that I chose aged care as my career path. Having a bond and the same interest as one of your clients - especially when Trevor and I sit there and talk all things Raiders - make any hard moments seem well worth it!” she said.

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