Mates rally for ex-footballer's life-changing surgery

A TOOWOOMBA couple is calling on the community to help their friend receive a life-changing surgery.

Jason and Mikaela Smith and their children have lived across the road from the Hanley family for one year. Their children are growing up together and the parents have become great friends.

Mr and Mrs Smith feel helpless as they watch the family struggle through a difficult time.

Ex-footballer Chris Hanley requires a surgery which was 12 years in the making.

In 2005 Mr Hanley injured his neck during an Australian Under 21 trial match.

Chris, Aiden, Emily & Sophia Hanley.
Chris, Aiden, Emily & Sophia Hanley.

He sustained further injuries when he was placed in a compromised position in a tackle. His body went into major spasm, he lost feeling in his arms and couldn't turn his head.

This was the start of a harrowing medical journey with neurosurgeons and pain management specialists.

Mr Hanley was told because of his young age that surgery was not be an option until other avenues had been explored.

He's tried physiotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture and topical creams. He's even received radiofrequency neurotomy, a type of injection procedure used to treat facet joint pain, three times.

The procedure involves cervical artificial disc replacement, spinal rhizolysis, spinal fusion and segmental internal fixation.

Mr Hanley's wife Emily has set up a GoFundMe account which has already raised more than $6000 in eight days.

Chris Hanley playing football.
Chris Hanley playing football.

"So here we are, less than five weeks away from the surgery date, with not a penny to put towards it and two children under five who have no concept of the situation," she wrote.

"(Our) only hope is that people like yourself, who are reading this, are able to financially help us. We are at the end of the road, Chris has tried all avenues, and now, we need help."

Mrs Smith wanted to spread the word of this family in need.

"It takes a lot of courage to ask for help and this is what Chris and Emily have done not knowing what response they would get," she said.

"Already the amount of support has restored my faith in humanity with all the negatives in the world."

"It's so wonderful to see family, friends and even strangers helping out in so many positive ways."

To help the Hanley family out, visit

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