Former West Coast Eagles player Ashley Sampi has revealed that he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
- Former AFL player Ashley Sampi said the diagnosis was “harsh and overwhelming”.
- Sampi played five seasons as a forward for West Coast Eagles
- Participate in a charity challenge to raise funds for research into the disease.
Sampi, 38, made 78 appearances for the West Coast between 2002 and 2006, scoring 97 goals for the club and appearing in the 2005 grand final against Sydney.
Sampi is best known for taking the AFL brand of the year in 2004 for an impressive jump on the shoulders of teammate Andrew Embley against Melbourne at the MCG.
He made the announcement about his health on the Facebook page of his uncle, actor and entertainer Ernie Dingo.
He apologized to family and friends for not telling people individually, saying “it would have been too difficult to tell everyone what I’m going through and what my path for the future holds” for himself, his wife Gerri and their children.
Sampi said he would join the MS Foundation’s charity challenge for May, which calls on people to walk, run or bike 50km and raise funds to support MS; his goal for the month is to reach the 100 km mark.
“Anyone can join with the hope that family and friends will join and with donations to ‘Team Sampi’. I will be raising some money to help fight MS. If we can raise more than my goal it will be really appreciated, thanks for your help. and the donation and your support.”
The Team Sampi fundraising page had an initial goal of $6,000; that goal has already been surpassed, with $7,192 donated as of early Wednesday afternoon.
He said that 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’ll all want answers, I guess, but please try to wait,” he said.
“I thank you all for your love and care and for your support.”