SHOCK: Grafton Manly fan’s sweet 16th birthday surprise
ALL Hope Endean wanted for her 16th birthday was to see her beloved Manly Sea Eagles fan play at Brookvale Oval.
But with the coronavirus shutting down the NRL, and her mother in hospital a week before the big day on April 30, it wasn't looking like a sweet sixteen to remember.
"She was a bit disappointed, being in isolation she couldn't have much of a birthday celebration with her friends," mother Eliza Endean said.
"And then I got sick, and I didn't even know if I was going to be out in time and some things I'd ordered weren't arriving, and I thought this poor kid is going to have the worst birthday."
The week before, Ms Endean decided on a whim to contact the football club, to ask if anyone was available to send Hope a short message for her birthday.
"I didn't care who it was, a second-grade player, a cheerleader, just a 10-second text to say happy birthday from the club I thought would be nice," Ms Endean said.
"I got a message back saying that the players were all in isolation, but they'd see what they could do."
Days passed, and on the day before her birthday, Ms Endean said they figured that it wasn't going to happen.
Then at 4pm, they received a message that changed everything.
Manly superstar Daly Cherry-Evans recorded a short video message wishing Hope a happy birthday, and the family waited until she woke on her birthday to show her the special message.
"I knew she'd react; he's her favourite player," Ms Endean said.
When Hope woke on her birthday morning, her parents showed the message on an iPad, and she screamed in delight and shock.
"Oh my god! I'm going to cry," Hope yelled, before breaking down while watching the message.
"I'm in my pyjamas!"
And although at the Daly Cherry-Evans couldn't see her in her PJ's then, there's a fair chance he has now, with the family videoing her "ugly-cry" reaction, to keep it for posterity.
"I just wanted to show our friendship circle, and shared it privately," Ms Endean said.
"Then a few days ago, I shared it on a Facebook group called Kindness Pandemic, to give Daly Cherry-Evans a bit of kudos, and thought it might get 20 or 30 likes.
"I woke up the next morning, and it'd gone viral, and we weren't expecting that."
Ms Endean has received interview requests from media across the country, including the clip shown on Sunrise, and contacted by the Queensland State of Origin media team. It's been crazy," Ms Endean said.
"I used to live in Manly, and my husband Joe has always been Manly supporters, and Hope had only ever seen one game on the Gold Coast when she was little.
"We love our kids, and you always want the best for them, but it shows that it's not the big expensive presents that make the most impact.
"This is something she'll remember for the rest of her life."
Even with the ugly cry.