Caption: Lauren 'Lol' McKay with Manly half-back Daly Cherry-Evans and her brother, Callum, at training.
The smile on the faces of the McKay family at Sea Eagles training today said it all.
For they knew, it could have been a far different story following a freakish boating accident on Good Friday on the Hawkesbury River.
Ten-year-old Lauren McKay, better known to her family and friends as ‘Lol’ fell from their motorised boat with her head hitting the propeller, causing severe injuries.
“The doctors told us it was a very severe head injury. We are very lucky she is still with us,’’ her father, Tim, said.
Having been made aware of the accident and learning the family from Kurnell are passionate Manly supporters, the Sea Eagles invited the family to attend training today to meet the team.
In between watching the team train, Lol, Tim, mum Lisa, and 12-year-old son Callum, had the chance to get autographs and their jerseys signed.
More importantly, it was an opportunity to see the bubbly little ‘Lol’ smile again.
“Lol is recovery well and it takes time. To see her smiling here today speaking to the Manly players is very uplifting, not just for her but for all of us,’’ Tim added.
“We love Manly. You don’t live in our house unless you follow the Sea Eagles.
“The players were so generous with their time in talking to her. It wasn’t a hassle for any of them to come and spend time. This is a special day for her.
“We have been very fortunate with her. The staff at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead do an amazing job, from the doctors, the nurses, to the administration people. They were so supportive of not just Lauren, but the whole family.”
Lol, who joked her initials stand for ‘Laughing Out Loud’, said she loved meeting the players, but in particular, her favourite in half-back Daly Cherry-Evans.
“He is so cool. He was so nice to talk to,’’ she said, smiling.
“I’m just so excited to meet the players. They are all really nice. I love Manly.”
Lol also had special praise for nurse Tony Galea.
“Tony is so funny. He is known as ‘Papa Smurf’ because of his grey beard and his height,’’ she said.
“He knew I was coming here today and even though he follows Parramatta, he was so happy to see what Manly were doing for me.”