Panthers coach Ivan Cleary, who selflessly donated a kidney to his brother Ash in 2017, has been unveiled as an official ambassador for charity organisation Transplant Australia.
Cleary has taken a leading role educating the Panthers community about organ donation, including the alarming statistic that only one in three Australians are registered organ donors.
"Despite having given a kidney to my brother, it was only 12 months ago that I realised I wasn't actually registered as an organ donor," Cleary said.
"Like many people, I wasn't aware the system of ticking a box on your drivers license is no longer in operation.
"I want to use my position in the NRL to help shine a light on the topic of organ donation and encourage all Australians to register their donation decision on the DonateLife website."
Transplant Australia CEO Chris Thomas thanked Cleary for his willingness to share his personal story with the Panthers players, staff, fans and the wider community.
"Transplant Australia and some transplant recipients had the pleasure of spending a few hours with Ivan, his son Nathan and all the team this week at training," Mr Thomas said.
"As a first grade coach he obviously lives in a pressure cooker environment with results expected every week.
"From our perspective he’s already a winner through this extremely generous act to help his brother Ash.
"Ash has made a full recovery and its obvious this has had a profound effect on the Cleary family and all the players at Penrith.
"We are extremely pleased Ivan has agreed to be an ambassador, especially given he is in a unique role to help convince more Australians to sign on to be registered organ donors.
"There are 1,497 Australians currently waiting for a life-saving transplant while just over 1,000 are waiting for an urgent kidney transplant.
"We need as many Australians as possible to register to save lives."
Please note that in NSW you can no longer register your donation decision via your driver’s licence.
The only way to become a registered organ donor is by entering your details in the Australian Organ Donor Register at donatelife.gov.au.