They’ve been our shining light through a tumultuous two years, and now the ‘healthcare heroes’ of the North will be recognised at this weekend’s North Queensland Toyota Cowboys season opener against the Bulldogs at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Hard work, dedication and sacrifice have been the hallmarks of our frontline health and emergency workers during COVID, and their tireless contribution will be acknowledged at this Sunday’s Cowboys home game, with nearly 2,000 complimentary tickets for our ‘healthcare heroes’ snapped up.
The ticket offer was extended to workers and their families from Townsville University Hospital and Mater Townsville, St John Ambulance, QML Pathology and Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, as well as emergency service workers from Queensland Police, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Queensland Ambulance Service.
Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel said the tickets are a small token of gratitude to those individuals who have made an unwavering commitment towards returning the community to a ‘new normal’, post COVID-19.
“As we faced the biggest challenge of our generation, the North’s health and emergency services workers have been at the forefront of the fight, and their dedication to serving their community has never waned,” he said.
“Nobody will ever forget March 2020 when we first opened our brand-new stadium for the XXXX Derby against the Brisbane Broncos, only to have to close it the next day due to the arrival of COVID-19 on Australian shores. Our whole world changed forever.
“Now, as we prepare to get back to footy at full capacity two years later, it’s important to take this opportunity to recognise and thank those who have worked so hard to enable us to gather safely in the stadium and run out on the field despite the ongoing challenges of a global pandemic.
“We hope that our healthcare heroes can sit back and relax as they join us for a massive night of entertainment when we welcome the start of an exciting NRL season and celebrate their contribution to the lifestyle we all enjoy in North Queensland.
“We had a fantastic response to the ticket offer and invite our members and fans to join us in thanking these inspiring members of our community at the game.”
Medical Liaison Manager for Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, Kevin Francis said the offer of tickets was met with excitement.
The offer will play a crucial role in ensuring staff can spend some down time with their families, who have also made sacrifices over the past two years.
"Pathology has probably been a little bit of a silent partner in all of this... but the staff have been working around the clock non-stop for the last two years," Kevin said.
"The commitment that's been shown by staff in pathology; long hours, late nights, early mornings - they've missed out on crucial family time," Kevin said.
"This will be an added bonus to catch up on that lost time."
A dedicated bay has been put aside for the healthcare heroes and their families, with a group of representatives set to form a guard of honour on-field when the Cowboys run out for their first of twelve regular season home games in 2022.
In line with the Queensland Government’s most recent COVID-19 advice, the Cowboys will welcome back a crowd of up to 100% capacity with all patrons aged 16 and over requiring proof of full vaccination with check-in.