Imagine a world where one day you are an elite athlete, full of life and vitality, a young woman living out your dreams.
Now imagine that world being stripped away and replaced by a different world, a world that consisted of lying in a nursing home bed, completely paralysed, unable to speak or communicate with your loved ones.
That was Trish Langsford’s world.
The Foundation is named after Trish Langsford, who was struck down in the prime of her life by multiple sclerosis. As well as being an A1 tennis player and first grade hockey player, Trish represented New South Wales in the Open Women’s Cricket Team and captained the Australian Youth Cricket Team against New Zealand. She was also a member of the Australian Squad and was described by cricket writer Amanda Weaver as one of the most gifted players in Australia.
Trish graduated from university with a degree in Human Movement following which she was appointed Development Officer for Women’s Cricket NSW. She enjoyed her job and was very sad when, at the age of 23, she finally had to relinquish the position because of her multiple sclerosis.
At age 30, Trish sadly passed away in 2002 having spent four and a half years in a nursing home with end-stage multiple sclerosis. She was completely paralysed, artificially fed and morphine was administered four hourly during that entire time. She understood everything that was said but unfortunately could not communicate. It is hard to imagine what she could have been thinking.
Prior to Trish passing away, Professor John Pollard a member of the Foundation’s Scientific Research Committee said, “Unfortunately Trish is in end-stage multiple sclerosis; she had the chronic progressive form of the disease and very sadly, no treatment that is found by our research or that of others is going to help Trish at this stage. What is important is that we develop treatments for this disease to prevent patients reaching this end-stage disease.”
Trish’s death wasn’t in vain. Her family and friends watched her suffer and lose her grip on life and are determined to save others from the tragic consequences of this disease.
Trish the Cricketer
Not long ago Trish Langsford was described by cricket writer Amanda Weaver as one of the most gifted players in Australia.
That is, until she was struck down by multiple sclerosis.
From a very young age Trish set lofty goals for herself and worked very hard to achieve her ultimate goal, Australian representation. She relished playing her chosen sport and represented New South Wales from the age of fifteen. She was named Sydney Women’s Cricket Association Player of the Year during the 1990/1991 season.
Interviewed on 2UE, she was asked about her maiden century. Trish replied:
“This season I got my first century, 109 not out versus Campbelltown and in the National Championships I got 6 for 38 versus Queensland. I was very pleased with my season this year. It was the best I’ve ever had.”
Following that Trish made her debut in the New South Wales Open Team at the 1991 Australian Championships held in Orange. She won the aggregate and average bowling awards and also made a handy contribution with the bat. Trish was then named Player of the Series, quite an achievement on debut, and especially for one so young.
Again interviewed on 2UE she was asked, The National Squad was chosen to play New Zealand. No Tricia Langsford, Player of the Series but didn’t make the Squad, bit disappointing? Trish replied:
“Yeah I was a little bit disappointed, but it’s understandable. I’m still only 20, only young and there’s a youth team to go away to India which hopefully I might get into.”
The following year in Adelaide Trish top scored with 59 runs and was also New South Wales’ best bowler in the final against South Australia.
In 1994, just before being struck down by multiple sclerosis, Trish captained the Australian Youth Team against New Zealand in Toowoomba. The team won the one day series and the rain affected Test finished in a draw.
Trish completed a degree in Human Movement and became Development Officer for Women’s Cricket NSW, continuing her involvement in the sport she loved.
Later that same year, Trish became afflicted with severe multiple sclerosis. Within a few short months, the job she loved was gone, the brightest of sporting careers cut down.
After Trish was admitted to the nursing home, Women’s Cricket NSW bestowed the honour on her of presenting her with the prestigious True Blue Award. Australian captain Belinda Clark presented Trish with the award, a copy of which is provided below:
Presentation of True Blue Award – Trish, her father Roy and Belinda Clark
NEW SOUTH WALES WOMEN’S CRICKET ASSOCIATION INC.
TRUE BLUE AWARD
- Represented NSW U/18’s 1986 to 1987
- Represented NSW U/21’s 1988 to 1990
- Named Vice Captain of NSW U/21’s from 1989 and 1990
- Represented NSW in the open team from 1991 to 1993
- Named “Player of the Series” on debut season for the NSW Open team at the 1991 Australian Championships
- Named Sydney Women’s Cricket Association “Player of the Year” during 1990/91
- Selected in the Australian Development Squad from 1990 – 1993
- Named Captain of the Australian U/23 team for Australia V New Zealand Series (Dive-Lamason Youth Challenge Cup) in 1993/94
- Appointed as the NSWWCA part-time Development Officer in 1993
- Resigned from the Development Officer’s position and withdrew from the NSW Open team due to illness in 1994
Trish will always be remembered for her sportsmanship, dedication and commitment to the sport and her willingness to encourage and assist young players
- True Blue Award Criteria (Adopted – March 1999). Awarded to a past player who has:
- Represented NSW at the Senior level:
- While representing NSWWCA:
- Played with dedication, excellence and courage;
- Acted selflessly and in the best interest of the team at all times;
- Willingly carried out Team leadership requests and directives;
- Conscientiously met playing, practice and training requirements;
- Demonstrated self-discipline and honest, ethical behaviour at all times;
- Off the field:
- In a voluntary capacity contributed in a substantial way to the development of NSWWCA and/or an Affiliated Association or Women’s Cricket Australia, for example, coaching, administration, etc.
- Not brought the Team, NSWWCA, its affiliates or the game into disrepute, nor have been found guilty under any of the sport’s disciplinary procedures, including Codes of Conduct or Drug Policy