Abbey Wehrung honoured to be a part of Maddie's Vision

Canberra Capitals guard Abbey Wehrung knows better than most that the hardest things in life bring people together.

She experienced it first hand when she lost her father Duane to cancer as a nine-year-old.

It's why she will feel so privileged to play a role in promoting Maddie's Vision - a charity fighting against bone marrow failure syndromes - when the Capitals face the Mlebourne Boomers at State Basketball Centre on Saturday.

Wehrung's No. 13 jersey is a permanent reminder of her father, and she hopes the WNBL community can band together to create a permanent tribute for Maddie Reiwoldt.

Riewoldt died of bone marrow failure with her family by her side, and her older brother - AFL legend Nick Riewoldt - was holding her hand right until the end.

While Maddie's Vision has been beamed around the nation when Nick Riewoldt's St Kilda battle cousin Jack's Richmond in the AFL, this will be basketball's first tribute.

Wehrung, who fittingly dons basketball shoes bearing a touch of purple - the colour of the foundation - wants to make it a memory that will last a lifetime for many.

The Capitals will be facing the youngest and shortest player in WNBL history - nine-year-old Indyanna Harper has signed a one-game contract with the Boomers for the game.

Indyanna has been fighting bone marrow failure called aplastic anaemia, a relatively life threatening disorder but her future looks bright thanks to a stem cell donation from her sister.

However Riewoldt's passing in February of 2015 proves not everyone is so lucky, and Maddie's Vision was set up in her name in a bid to raise funds for research into a cure.

"It'll be something positive in a really tough time," Wehrung said.

"It's something that is hugely positive, and something they know is beneficial to what their families are going through.

"[Indyanna's opportunity] is super special. It's really special what they're doing, and it's cool that sport can be such a platform for raising awareness, raising money and stuff like that for things like this.

"The fact that it's a TV game too, everyone across Australia can be a part of it so it's super special."

The Boomers will wear a one-off purple uniform and have asked supporters to wear purple and donate money in support of research into bone marrow failure.

It's a game that makes Canberra's on-court woes pale in comparison to the journey of families like the Harper's and Riewoldt's.

But the Capitals are still desperate to get the win and snap a horror losing streak that has all but made missing the finals a foregone conclusion at the halfway point of the season, with Canberra needing to win almost all of their remaining 11 games to sneak into the top four.

Standing in their way is Boomers superstar Liz Cambage, who dropped 44 points against Adelaide last week and is averaging a league-high 21.7 points per game.

"It's obviously going to be a challenge and we're going to throw everything at them to try and break this losing streak," Wehrung said.


Saturday: Round seven - Melbourne Boomers v Canberra Capitals at State Basketball Centre, 3pm. TV time: Live on Fox Sports.

This story Abbey Wehrung honoured to be a part of Maddie's Vision first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.