Former West Coast Eagles player Ashley Sampi has revealed he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Most important points:
- Former AFL player Ashley Sampi said the diagnosis was “harsh and overwhelming”
- Sampi played five seasons as a striker for West Coast Eagles
- He is entering a charity competition to raise money for research into the disease
The 38-year-old Sampi made 78 appearances for the West Coast between 2002 and 2006, scored 97 goals for the club and played in the 2005 Grand Final against Sydney.
Sampi is best known for taking the AFL Mark of the Year in 2004 for a stunning jump off teammate Andrew Embley’s shoulders against Melbourne in the MCG.
He made the announcement about his health on the Facebook page of his uncle, the actor and entertainer Ernie Dingo.
He apologized to family and friends for not telling people individually, saying it would have been “too hard to let you all know what I’m going through and what my path for the future holds” for him, his wife. Gerry and their children.
Sampi said he entered the MS Foundation’s May charity challenge, which calls on people to walk, run or cycle 50km and raise money to support MS – his goal for the month is to reach 100km.
“Anyone can join, hopefully with family and friends and with donations to ‘Team Sampi’ I will raise some money to help with the fight against MS. If we can raise more than my goal it would be really appreciated, thank you for your help and donation and your support.”
Team Sampi’s fundraising page had an initial goal of $6,000 — that goal has already been exceeded, with a $7,192 donation beginning Wednesday afternoon.
He said he and his family were still coming to terms with the diagnosis and asked for time and help with his fundraising efforts.
“I know you all want answers, I guess, but please try to put it off,” he said.
“Thank you all for your love and care and for your support.”