A COMMUNITY rattled by the loss of one of its favourite sons is rallying in typical, Sunshine Coast fashion.
After Sunshine Coast Falcons prop James Ackerman's death following an incident in an Intrust Super Cup game against Norths on Saturday, locals have opened their arms wide, embracing the grieving family of the hard-working, much-loved 25-year-old.
A trust fund established on Monday was gaining plenty of momentum, with significant donations flowing in to support Ackerman's young family, as well as offers of support from the Sunshine Coast Council.
As of last night, more than $14,000 had been raised via the trust fund, less than a day since it had been established.
But the support is flowing both ways.
Falcons' chairman Ashley Robinson said a number of Falcons' players had reached out to Norths' Francis Molo, the man who made the tackle on Ackerman, to offer their support for the young man contracted to the Brisbane Broncos.
"A couple of our players have rang Francis and offered support to him," Mr Robinson said.
"As a club we understand that the Norths guys are hurting just as much as we are."
Updates were filtering through yesterday, with a $10,000 donation from FOGS Queensland, as well as significant contributions from other community members, including other football codes, all showing the respect Ackerman was held in.
"I've been waking up at 3am worrying about how we'll look after the cost of the funeral and Peter Boyce (former Falcons chairman) took that off my hands which was huge," Mr Robinson said.
"We know the Sunshine Coast is a very generous community and it's just been incredible."
More examples of Ackerman's generosity emerged yesterday, when it was revealed even in his death, he was helping others through organ donation.
"I would just like to let everyone know, James donated organs so that others could survive," his brother Tom Ackerman posted on the Support for Ackers Facebook page.
"One amazing thing was that they couldn't find a match anywhere in Australia for his lungs because they were too big.
"Although sad it just goes to show how much of a work horse he really was, he had unlimited petrol in no matter what he was doing.
"I'm so proud of the achievements he has made through his short life and it's an honour to call him my brother. Love you mate, your legacy will live on forever."
Mr Robinson said the organ donation, and the news that Ackerman's family had also approached Molo to comfort him following the incident, were further examples of the class of family Ackerman had come from.
"That just explains to you what the family's like, that sums them up," Mr Robinson said.
"Right now they're thinking of other people.
"The organ donation and the way his father did that (reached out to Molo) tells you why James is such a well-respected individual, that's the stuff he's made of."
Queensland Rugby League yesterday confirmed Molo had been referred to the judiciary over the incident by the Match Review Committee, with a date to be announced.
Mr Robinson said the Falcons were for now dedicated to supporting the Ackerman family, before their attention eventually returned to football.
"Right now there's a funeral coming up that everyone needs to support the family at and then what we need to focus on is that home game against Mackay next weekend," he said.
"The other thing is that there's some guys that may not want to play and that's their decision and we'll support them in that too."
HOW TO HELP
To donate to the Ackerman Family Trust Fund direct deposits to:
Bank of Queensland
BSB: 124 001
Acc No: 1150 0777
Ref No: 151 181