It’s been a week of dizzying highs and eye-opening lows for one of the SUNS’ first AFLW signings Ellie Hampson.
Hampson was parachuted in to the Gold Coast on her 18th birthday for the whole of club announcement that herself, Charlotte Hammans and Kitara Whap-Farrar would be the club’s first ever AFLW signings.
But Hampson had just left her reeling home city of Townsville which was still coming to grips with the devastating effects of flooding in the region.
So it was just several fleeting hours away from reality for Hampson, who was flown right back into the thick of it later that night to help her family and friends.
“I’m from Annandale which parts of it did get flooded pretty badly but my house is close to the highway and backs onto the army barracks, so we luckily didn’t get affected too badly,” Hampson told SUNS Media.
“Our patio got pulled up a bit but that was just from the heavy rain not from the massive flooding so we were pretty lucky in that sense.
“But houses even 2km away were flooded really badly - I walked to my friend’s house and houses that I would usually just walk to were under.”
Not one to sit by while others are in need, Hampson was quick to take action and help those around her.
She called upon her Hermit Park Tigers teammates from around town and together they helped dozens of struggling households.
“On the first few days I was more helping people close to our family,” Hampson said.
“Then on the Saturday a couple of friends and I from the elevated fitness group I do at the Tigers, we went and cleaned up a heap of houses that day for a few hours.
“Then the next day we got a group together at school and we did it with a heap of students and teachers trying to help the people in Rosslea where the houses were probably a metre and a half deep.”
The old saying ‘many hands make light work’ rings true in this instance, with Hampson and her troop of teammates willing to do anything asked of them by those unfortunate enough to be severely affected.
“It was just taking all the furniture and clothes out then sweeping people’s floors,” she said.
“There was one day where there were heaps of carports at a unit facility and we scraped all the mud away and pressure cleaned it all off and made sure all the carports were back to normal.
“When we went to the school we had to chip tile glue off the walls and some of the girls went and cleaned houses for mould and just moved people’s stuff out that they needed a hand with as well.”
Hampson’s school lost power and was shut down for over a week – but that was one of the lucky ones.
Nearby Oonoonba State School had to relocate their primary school students to Hampson’s high school due to the flooding.
The entire school needs to be rebuilt.
Hampson’s local football club was also badly affected.
“The bottom level of the clubhouse got flooded and pretty much everything needed to be thrown out.
“It literally looked like a swimming pool where the fields were.
“One of the managers posted a photo saying ‘Tigers now hosting swimming lessons’ just as a joke but that’s how bad it was.
“It was pretty sad to see it happening to your own club.”
The Tigers called upon its army of players and volunteers and over three days managed to clear out the bottom level of the clubhouse and clean everything up.
The field has now drained and the community of Townsville are starting to get back on their feet.
In trying times, communities’ bond together and overcome.
The community spirit is something Hampson loves about her city, and while she plans to move to the Gold Coast after she finishes year 12, Townsville will always be her home.