When women’s rugby union kicked off on the Mid North Coast in 2017, there wasn’t much that was going to keep Forster’s Lauris Donovan from getting involved, least of all her cerebral palsy diagnosis.
“I jointed the Wauchope Thunder Rugby Club in the first year for woman’s rugby in the area,” Lauris explained.
“What a fantastic kick off for women in rugby!”
Lauris was part of the first Wauchope women’s team, and loved it so much she was at the top of the list to resign in 2018.
Wauchope women’s rugby team captain, Morgan Critchley said right from the beginning, Lauris had a wicked sense of humour and was always keen for a laugh.
“She brought a wonderful energy to the team,” Morgan said.
“Her willingness to overcome obstacles, her determination and grit to never give up is something that has inspired us all at the Wauchope Thunder Rugby Club.
Don’t look at me as someone with a birth defect, look at me as someone with goals, just like everyone else.Lauris Donovan
“On behalf of the entire club, we will miss you like crazy and wish you all the best chasing your dreams.”
Now, with her experience tucked firmly under her belt, Lauris is heading to Sydney to focus on bigger opportunities in rugby, with her sights set on playing for Australia.
“I will work hard and hopefully land my dream job as an ambassador for the cerebral palsy foundation, encouraging all ages and different strengths of cerebral palsy to find a sport suitable for them,” Lauris said.
“I hope to be an inspiration and help to all people with a disability struggling to find where they belong.
“Because of rugby I’ve become more confident and gained lifelong friends,
“I will always remember where I started and will be thankful for the people who have helped me get to where I am.”
When Lauris first started at the Wauchope Thunder in 2017 no one at the club knew of her condition, and to this day, not everyone does.
“She has never let her condition get in the road of training or playing,” club member, Naomi George said.
“Determined, she pulled on her thunder jersey and played every week.
“I look up to and admire Lauris for what she has overcome to play a sport like rugby.
“She is an inspiration to the whole club and we will all miss her terribly when she leaves for the big smoke.
“She will always have a place with our thunder family but wish her all the best in Sydney.”
“Having being born with this disability, some things have been challenging, but with the support of my amazing mum we overcame everything thrown our way,” Lauris said.
“Don’t look at me as someone with a birth defect, look at me as someone with goals, just like everyone else.”