Eleven special children and young adults were today honoured for their courage at the annual Bravery Awards ceremony at Fremantle headquarters.

Now in its 18th year, the Bravery Awards ceremony is acknowledges of the amazing strength, determination and courage of the special young people and their families who, for one reason or another, pass through the wards of hospitals within the South Metropolitan Area Health Service (SMAHS).

Fremantle first-year players Lee Spurr, Lachie Neale, Tom Sheridan, Cam Sutcliffe, Sam Menegola, Jordan Wilson-King Alex Forster and Haiden Schloithe shared stories of bravery from the 11 award recipients.

One of those stories, detailed by Spurr, was of Carl-Akira Fujinami. Carl, 17, was enjoying a holiday in Perth when he injured his spine while playing in the surf at Cottesloe Beach on 2 January.

Carl is now a tetraplegic, which means that he cannot move his legs and has limited function in his arms.

One lucky award recipient was also given the opportunity to be the Docker 4 a Day at the round 17 game against Greater Western Sydney at Patersons Stadium.

The name drawn out of the hat was the youngest award recipient, four-year-old Riley Lannon-Heedes, who has suffered from allergies, eczema and asthma since birth.

Afterwards, the players took the recipients out onto Fremantle Oval for a bit of fun and kick-to-kick.

That’s where Michael Barlow decided to come out onto the oval and make an announcement.

He said he’d asked coach Ross Lyon if one more Docker 4 a Day could be selected from the award recipients.

With the answer being in the affirmative, 13-year-old Joshua Miller was ecstatic when his name was selected to be the second lucky youngster to be given the chance to run out with Matthew Pavlich and the team.

Neale and Spurr both agreed the event was a rewarding experience that provided them with a reality check.

“It was definitely a day where you were brought back to reality,” Neale said.

“You might be on the track or running a 3km time trial, but life’s not that hard.
“It was a bit of an eye opener.”

“You have a bad session or an injury and you think you’ve got it bad,” Spurr said.

“These kids are in and out of hospitals, some of them years, some for the rest of their lives.

“It really puts it into perspective.”

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