The South African Rugby Legends Association has decided to take action and support Joost van der Westhuizen financially.

The South African Rugby Legends Association (Sarla) has decided to take action and support Joost van der Westhuizen financially by holding a fundraiser after he was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease last week.

Van der Westhuizen, who was given an 80% chance to live between two and five years, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by Dr Erik Pioro, a leading expert in motor neuron disease in the neuromuscular unit of Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Great challenges lie ahead for Van der Westhuizen, and Sarla members said they were deeply moved when they heard the prognosis of their colleague and friend.

Sarla is a group of ex-Springbok, provincial and first-class rugby players who have formed a charitable trust.

The initial purpose of the trust was to raise funds for the development of rugby at both grass-roots and club level.

As Van der Westhuizen’s struggles are far from over, Sarla president Gavin Varejes has announced that the association will hold a benefit banquet at Emperor’s Palace in November to raise funds to aid Van der Westhuizen financially. He has to return to the US for follow-up treatment.

The banquet will be a sit-down dinner, and Johnny Clegg and Watershed offered their services free of charge as entertainment for the evening.

World Cup captains will attend the dinner and the Blue Bulls Cheerleaders will welcome guests on arrival, with Malcolm Ferreira (Player 23) providing entertainment.

Corporate leaders have been invited to buy tables in an effort to raise funds for Van der Westhuizen.

“South Africans are known for their generous disposition, and a strong turnout is expected for this worthy event,” said Varejes.

Varejes concluded by saying Van der Westhuizen’s full support was derived from private donor funding under Sarla’s President Fund and had no cost implication on Sarla’s normal operations.

ABOUT SA RUGBY LEGENDS

Sarla is a group of former Springbok, provincial and first-class rugby players who have formed a charitable trust.

The initial purpose of the trust was to raise funds for the development of rugby at both grass-roots and club level.

Today, this has grown into a full-blown social awareness charity using sport as the catalyst to bring people together.

The organisation’s projects seek to educate people in the crucial area of self-upliftment and self-sufficiency in economically disadvantaged areas. It also aims to eventually feed 50 000 street children a day.

Finally, Sarla is always mindful of looking after its sport and country. Joost has supported Sarla immensely over the years and he has brought much joy to his fans.

His bold contribution to South Africa’s World Cup victory in 1995 will be cherished by South Africans for decades to come.

Sarla believes that the least that the association can do is to grant him access to the latest medical interventions, in the hope that his condition can be alleviated.

Assisting Sarla are the following co-sponsors (in alphabetical order):

* Blue Bulls Cheerleaders

* Blue Label Telecoms

* Emperors Palace

* Intense Design

* Keystone Productions

* Malcolm Ferreira (Player 23)

* Melrose Arch Flowers

* MSC Sports

* PG Glass

* Red Bull

* Rhapsody’s

* SAB

* Unlimited Events (decor)

* Wildekrans