Meet your 2016 Big Day Off ambassadors

Meet your 2016 Big Day Off ambassadors

Well, we are off and running! The Big Day Off officially launched yesterday at the National Rugby League headquarters at Sydney’s Moore Park and along with it came our ambassador announcements.

Usually our ambassadors are busy fighting it out on the sports field, reporting breaking news, working in the community or making media appearances, but they all feel so strongly about the Big Day Off and supporting people with spinal cord injury that they’ve taken time out of their busy schedules to become Big Day Off ambassadors for 2016!


Alex McKinnon

Alex is a former NRL player, having played for the Newcastle Knights and the St George Illawarra Dragons. During a match in 2014, Alex sustained a spinal cord injury, leaving him paralysed from the chest down. Alex now works for the Newcastle Knights, is studying to become a teacher, and is planning a wedding with his fiancé Teigan.

Alex brings his experience of living with a spinal cord injury to the Big Day Off, “it’s a great initiative and it’s easy for businesses to get involved. When I suffered a spinal cord injury, my life fundamentally changed. Having the right support structure around me was, and continues to be, vital to my ongoing recovery. But this all comes at a cost, and it’s initiatives like the Big Day Off that help people with this support, while working towards a cure at the same time.”

WebNathan Hindmarsh

Nathan is a former NRL player, with an impressive career that saw him captain the Parramatta Eels, represent NSW in State of Origin and play for Australia. These days he’s busy on Fox’s Monday Nights with Matty Johns and Friday Night Footy, and taking care of his four kids. In his spare time he’s a keen indoor cricketer.

Nathan is supporting the big day off because “15,000 people around Australia live with spinal cord injury, a cause that recently became more personal for me when a close friend sustained an SCI. While he’s fighting to get as much movement back as he can, I’m trying to raise vital funds to support all Aussies with this life-altering disability. I urge everyone to register their business of nominate their boss to take part in the Big Day Off. It’s easy, fun, and you might just win a paid day off work!”

Big Day Off Launch at Rugby League Central, Sydney. Photo by Katherine Griffiths The Photo Pitch

Sandra Sully

As a journalist and presenter with TEN Eyewitness News First At Five, Sandra is one of the most recognisable and respected faces on Australian television. Off camera, Sandra is a news leader on Twitter and Instagram, with her prolific news tweets providing hundreds of thousands of Australians with breaking news and information every day. Sandra is also a passionate sports fan and long-standing support of spinal cord injury research in Australia.

On the Big Day Off Sandra says, “every day an Australian sustains a spinal cord injury and is told they may never walk again. Imagine being that person, their husband, wife, child or friend, and the devastating impact that would have on you and your plans for the future. Thankfully you can do something to support people with SCI by registering your business of nominating your boss today for the Big Day Off. All funds raised will support people living day-to-day with SCI, as well as help find a cure!”

220px-Adam_FreierAdam Freier

Adam is a former rugby union player, he’s got over 25 caps with the Wallabies, captained the Waratahs, and played for the Brumbies and the Rebels. Adam is now the Head of Digital and Wallabies Media and appears on the ABC’s Offsiders program. He also pops up on ABC News Breakfast, ABC Grandstand, SKY and Triple M to talk all things rugby union. Adam was the head of the Rubgy Union Players Association and has been a long-standing supporter of and advocate for Australians with spinal cord injury.

On the Big Day Off Adam says, “We are a proud nation, passionate about sport and being active, and while we can’t prevent every injury, we can do a lot to support people living with a spinal cord injury and to be part of the ongoing quest for a cure. I have seen in many sports, not just in Rugby Union, the impact a serious injury can have on an individual and their families and friends. I encourage everyone to get involved in the Big Day Off and help raise funds for spinal cord injury support and research in Australia.”


damien-oliver300x250Damien Oliver

Australia’s most well-known jockey, Damien was inducted into the racing Hall of Fame in 2008. Damien is a member of an exclusive club that has ridden the ‘Grand Slam’ of Australian racing, winning the Melbourne Cup (three), Cox Plate (two), Caulfield Cup (four) and Golden Slipper (one). He’s a big supporter of the AFL’s West Coast Eagles and a long-time SpinalCure Australia ambassador.



_WS_7692Jack Steele

Jack is an AFL footballer playing for the Greater Western Sydney Giants, and was the first Giant to be drafted from the Giant Academy in Canberra. Jack has done the hard yards for the team, even appearing as their mascot G-Man while he was working for AFL Canberra as a development officer.

Jack supports the Big Day Off because, “most people who sustain a spinal cord injury are aged just 15 to 24 years old, and often are injured as a result of playing sport. These are young people who have to navigate the hurdles of just staring out in life with the added complication of a serious disability. Being a professional AFL player at that age myself, I’m encouraging people to register their business or nominate their boss to take part in the Big Day Off. Your participation will help all Australians with spinal cord injury receive the support they need to live their day-to-day lives and to find a cure for future generations.”

We are proud and grateful and awestruck and amazed with all of the wonderful support we have received this year!! Join this fine company and register your business or nominate your boss to register today.