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Max takes lead for Jersey Day as coaching path beckons

Organ donation saved Max Bishop's life and now through leading his school peers into marking Jersey Day, he's making sure more families have the conversation about their wishes to donate life.

The Brothers Ipswich junior was in 2016 diagnosed with a rare liver complication known as vanishing bile duct syndrome, meaning he would need a liver transplant to survive.

It also meant Max would need to give up playing the sport he loves.

With his dad Mark involved in coaching with Ipswich Jets, Max has remained in the game volunteering any way he can, and will soon aim to complete a coaching Level 1 course to start following in his dad's footsteps.

The 17-year-old is now in Year 12 at Bremer State High School, where he is sports captain, and through his leadership has the entire school community celebrating Jersey Day on Thursday - ahead of the official day marked nationally on September 1.

"Last year, in year 11, I was becoming a leader and the one thing that I wanted to do as a leader was Jersey Day," Max said.

"I just kept reminding everyone, reminding everyone and then it obviously got to the start of term three this term and that's when I really ramped it up and asked the teachers made sure it was all good, got the P&C on board it got it started."

Mighty Max highlights importance of Jersey Day

Max promoted the day in a video with the principal and spoke to his peers at an assembly, telling his own story and of the origins of Jersey Day, which was inspired by the legacy of Nathan Gremmo, a 13-year-old boy who died in May 2015. The Gremmo family's decision to donate Nathan's organs saved six lives.

"I had a good announcement at school (on Wednesday) and one thing I said is Jersey Day isn't just about wearing a jersey to school or to work, it's about having that conversation with your family about organ and tissue donation," Max said.

"We don't want people to pass away, but when they do it's about having a clear message within the family to say yes, I do want to have my organs and tissues donated where possible."

Max continues to face some health challenges with his new liver, but is looking ahead to tick off his goals professionally, and in rugby league.

"I'm going to be a PE teacher, so hopefully going to uni next year and doing the four years to get that done, be a PE teacher, get a good school and do a bit of rugby league coaching within the school to get a bit more experience as well," he said.

As his dad Mark Bishop and he will attest to Max's footy brain, having seen plenty of talented players at the Jets and spent time at training observing what works and what doesn't in the coaching caper since he started helping out in 2010.

"It's exciting. I know he's got a really good footy head on him," Bishop said.

"He's picked everyone's brains to find out what works and what doesn't.

"I guess he'll start coaching with the little fellas and work his way up."

Bishop said he was proud of the way Max was taking any setbacks in his stride and the way he had rallied the school to get behind Jersey Day.

Learn more about Jersey Day on their website and find out more about registering to become an organ and tissue donor.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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