By David Brasch
JENNIFER Tyrrell sat with her family at dinner at Kawana Surf Club, on Qld’s Sunshine Coast, a few weeks ago and spotted greyhound racing being broadcast live on a nearby screen.
She turned to husband Darcy and 29-year-old son Elliot and declared: “Elliot, I think it would be a good idea if you got into a greyhound.”
Jennifer\’s idea was out of the blue, but not one that would not appeal to her family.
Husband Darcy comes from a racing family, he\’d been involved in ownership many, many years ago, and had worked for Racing Queensland.
Elliott, and his twin sister Phoebe, are special needs adults.
Elliott was born with Aperts Syndrome, which simply put means the bones in his head were all fused together. At six weeks of age, Elliot had open heart surgery and at six months the on-going surgery started on his head and face.
Elliot has since endured 42 operations, a number of them major, where he has to be on life support for several weeks after, until the swelling subsides. His fingers were also fused together. Doctors operated on them when he was 18 months old to separate them.
Mum Jennifer\’s idea about getting into greyhound racing instantly took hold with the family and friends.
\”We started to look around on websites for pups that were for sale, got a bit of advice from people in the industry we had known for many years and came up with a plan,\” said Darcy.
That plan saw them approach Chris Georgiou to buy a six-month-old Zambora Brockie-Alpha Nemesis dog pup being reared by George Zammit.
Within days of the plan to buy a greyhound, Elliot\’s syndicate had dramatically grown.
It now includes Elliot, his mum and dad, brothers Carlos and Derek Prowse, Charlie Larosa, Helen Baker and Ian Harris.
Darcy went to school with Charlie at St Cecilia\’s Convent at Hamilton (Brisbane) and worked at TAA in the 1970s with Ian.
Jennifer and Helen went to primary school together and have stayed best of friends ever since.
If Elliot was going into greyhound racing, then so too were the Tyrrell ‘clan’.
Elliot works at a surf club on the Sunshine Coast, who took him on 10 years ago as a person with a disability.
In the past 18 months he has also transitioned to living in his own environment sharing a house with two others.
\”We have given the pup the kennel name of \’Woosie\’,\” said Darcy. \”Elliot\’s across the road neighbour Steve Whiteman is 73 and he and Elliot are the best of mates. His nickname is Woosie. Every week they go grocery shopping together.
\”Elliot has also become a bit of a punter betting on the football each week.\”
The Tyrrell family made the trip to Glamorganvale, west of Brisbane, to pick their pup.
\”We left it up to Elliot to make the decision and he went for a black dog with a spot of white on its chest,\” said Darcy.
He admits all the syndicate are ‘maidens’ in greyhound racing and are being led by advice from those in the industry.
So, in a year or more, when ‘Woosie’ lines up for his racing campaign a special young man who has already coped with a mountain of health problems in his short life, will drag along with him an army of syndicate members and supporters.
Greyhound racing, and Elliot\’s syndicate, will be the winners no matter what the result.