Thurston's gift to a sick mate

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Thurston's gift to a sick mate

Rugby league superstar Johnathan Thurston has teamed up with the Northern Pride to help former North Queensland Cowboys teammate Brenton Bowen in his battle against a second brain tumour, with a fundraiser at a special celebrity footy lunch in Cairns this Friday.

Thurston is auctioning his framed and signed Queensland State of Origin Game 3 jersey from last year’s historic seventh Origin series win to help raise funds for Bowen and his family while he is receiving radiation treatment in Melbourne following surgery on a benign tumour last December.

The 29 year-old former Cowboys and Gold Coast Titans winger, who first had a brain tumour removed in July 2011, attempted a brave footy comeback attempt last season with Cairns District Rugby League club Edmonton Storm before the tumour grew back.

Bowen is the cousin of Cowboys legend Matt Bowen and most recently played with Intrust Super Cup side Northern Pride.

“Brenton was a great teammate when he was with the Cowboys, and has always kept in touch with the boys, so I was keen to get involved and help him out,” said Thurston.

“Hopefully the people in Cairns and those that want to register will dig deep and support a really worthwhile cause.

“The jersey is the one I wore in Game 3 last year for our seventh straight series win, so it’s pretty special to me and one I hope that anyone who’s a Maroons supporter would love to own.”

Brenton Bowen said the support of the rugby league community meant a great deal to him as he recovers from this latest setback.

“It has been a pretty full on 18 months, having gone through two brain surgeries and now three weeks of radiation treatment,” he said.

“But the amount of support through family and friends and now the football community, especially Northern Pride and JT with his generous donation of such a treasured item, helps me and my family get through these testing times."

Northern Pride Chief Executive Officer Chris Sheppard said the rugby league world rallies around big events and supports their own, and the Friday Footy Feast Luncheon this Friday brings both of those together.

“BB (Bowen) is a great mate of many within both the Pride and the Cowboys, so it’s good to be able to help whilst also having a great afternoon with a number of special guests that we don’t get up close and personal access to here in far north Queensland.

“If anyone is unable to make the footy lunch, you can still bid for JT’s prized jersey.

“You just need to pre-register with Sheron in the Pride office on (07) 4046 0500, and we will call you during the auction to get your bids live.

“It means any adult living anywhere in the world can bid on the jersey. This gives fans throughout Queensland, Australia and the world a chance to get your hands on this iconic piece of sporting history.”

The ‘Friday Footy Feast’ starts at 1pm at the Union Jack on Spence Street in Cairns.

Tickets are $100 per person, or $750 for a table of eight, which includes a buffet lunch and two hours’ beverage package. Visit and go to ‘Shop’, and then ‘Events’ to purchase tickets or tables.

Thurston, Bowen, and other Cowboys will be in attendance at the lunch, including coach Neil Henry and New South Wales and Australian Kangaroos star James Tamou.

Ben Creagh, Matt Cooper, Nathan Fien, coach Steve Price and Queensland legend Wendell Sailor will also be in attendance from the St. George Illawarra Dragons.

The Cowboys and Dragons face each other this Saturday in an NRL trial blockbuster at Barlow Park in Cairns, kick-off 7.30pm.