Hawthorn star player Jack Gunston knows a lot about AFL. He also knows a lot about the happiness a Starlight Wish creates.
Jack first experienced the impact of a Starlight Wish when he met Starlight teen Alexander. A huge Hawthorn fan, Alexander was chaperoned by Jack on his Starlight Wish, who took the young fan on a behind the scenes tour of the club and named him an honourary Hawk for the day (pictured below). More recently, Jack made Harry's Starlight Wish come true at the AFL's night of nights, the Brownlow Medal Awards.
“I love the thought behind a Starlight Wish - being able to make others smile and give them an experience they'll never forget," Jack said.
Jack made his AFL debut playing for Adelaide in 2010. Keen to move back closer to home turf he left at the end of the 2011 season and joined the Hawthorn Club. Since then the star #19 forward has been a leading goal kicker for the team and has made a total of four grand finals and three premierships.
When not adding to his impressive goal scoring tally, Jack is a familiar face in the Starlight Express Room.
I love my time in the Starlight Express Room. The fun that Captain Starlight creates with the kids and families to make hospital a happy and enjoyable place is amazing.Jack Gunston
When he visits the Starlight Express Room, you'll find Jack either playing board games or gaming with the kids. He says the kids always keep him on his toes: "They are all very competitive and so hard to beat at all the games!"
Jack is also a familiar face at the Tasmania and Victoria Starlight Extravaganzas, where he and his Hawthorn teammates spend a fun day out with Starlight families. In 2015 and 2016, Jack was the lead ambassador for Starlight's partnership with the Victoria Racing Club, fundraising throughout the Spring Racing Carnival. In 2018 he helped Starlight celebrate its 30-year anniversary with Virgin Australia in Sydney.
Jack says it's great that Starlight provides a fun place away from the reality of hospital. "It's so nice that the kids are able to forget what is going on with them medically. Starlight helps sick kids feel free of all of the medical treatment they're receiving and I like the idea behind that."
When asked what he loves most about Starlight, Jack says without a doubt it's the smiles Starlight brings to the faces of sick kids.
And as a Starlight Ambassador, Jack plays an important role in helping create more of those smiles for sick kids and their families, and adds a healthy dose of competition along the way!
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