Taupau’s call to arms to help Samoa amid measles epidemic
3 December, 2019, 5:14 pm
SYDNEY, 03 DECEMBER 2019 (NRL) – Manly star Martin Taupau is leading the campaign to spread Christmas cheer to Samoa as the country battles a measles outbreak that has claimed more than 50 lives.
As of the latest update, 48 children aged four or under have died from the epidemic and 3,728 cases of the contagious disease are on record.
With the help of wife Michelle, who is the NRL’s community relations manager, Samoan Test prop Taupau launched an appeal for new and unwrapped toy and clothing gifts to raise the spirits of those affected.
Other organisations are already running fundraisers and providing sanitary items and similar necessities, so Taupau decided to focus on bringing some joy and hope to Samoan families this Christmas.
“A big part of the NRL community is to bring joy and happiness – that’s what rugby league does,” Taupau told NRL.com.
“We thought we would do that through bringing toys, clothes and whatever it may be that will bring a smile and happiness to those affected back in Samoa.”
Taupau has also sourced a range of new NRL merchandise, training gear and footballs to send to the islands.
The initiative has received an outpouring of support from the rugby league community since it went live last Friday.
“It’s amazing; I’m really appreciative of players that have showed their love on social platforms and verbally as well,” Taupau said.
“We’re really, really fortunate in the game of rugby league that they want to donate and be a part of this.”
Taupau shared a message of solidarity for the Samoan people doing it tough.
“The NRL is behind them – all the players, all the officials, all the fans, everyone within the NRL is supporting them,” he said.
“We’re doing everything we can within our powers to support them, whether it’s showing love, keeping them in our prayers or donating any items that will bring joy and happiness leading into the Christmas period.”
Donations are currently being collected at various NRL offices and leagues clubs (see below), with the potential for more locations to be added.