Lion-hearted nephew inspires Schofield
Lion-hearted nephew inspires Schofield

Tomorrow's Count Me In Round holds special significance for Subiaco coach Jarrad Schofield.

Developed through a partnership between the Disability Services Commission, the West Australian Football Commission and the Department of Sport and Recreation, the round encourages people to create welcoming communities built on mutual respect and the value of a fair go.

Schofield's eight-month-old nephew Owen Di Candilo was born with the rare brain formation disorder lissencephaly which limits development and shortens life expectancy.

A dual premiership midfielder with Subiaco, Schofield played 206 AFL games with West Coast, Port Adelaide and Fremantle.

To mark the round, he will walk on to Medibank Stadium with his eight-year-old son Taj, who will carry Owen, before tomorrow's game between the Lions and Claremont.

Schofield said he was proud to do his part to help recognise Count Me In Round and extend awareness of his nephew's condition.

"You never think these things will happen to yourself or someone close to you," Schofield said yesterday.

"You ask yourself why us? I look at my own two children and how healthy they are.

"But we are believers that sometimes people are given this role in life for a certain reason."

Schofield said he marvelled at the strength of Owen's parents, his younger sister, Taryn, and her husband, Vincent.

"I'm so proud of them to first of all process Owen's condition but also to move forward and live with it day to day," he said.

"They are a very strong couple and have got good family support around them as well."

Each host WAFL club will conduct its own promotional activities tomorrow with giveaways, appearances by special guests and a demonstration match between WA Integrated Football Commission teams Kingsway and Coolbinia/West Perth after tomorrow's game between Subiaco and the Tigers.

The WAIFC, a Perth-based league of six teams, provides an opportunity for intellectually disabled people over 16 to play football.

Disability Services Commission Director General Ron Chalmers encouraged fans to head to the football and help celebrate Count Me In Round.

"The Count Me In Round will remind people that everyone can enjoy the benefits of being part of a sports club," Chalmers said.

"That could be on the field as a player, on the sidelines supporting the team, behind the scenes fundraising or washing uniforms or taking part in the social side of the club.

"There are so many benefits being part of a club and the Count Me In Round 21 aims to highlight those for all of us."

The West Australian

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