Yeppoon Seagulls memorial day honours dedicated past member
HE LIVED and breathed rugby league and now the sport has honoured his legacy.
The Yeppoon Seagulls are hosting the Inaugural Todd Sleeman Memorial Trophy Game tomorrow, in memory of one of their former players and beloved committee members.
Todd sadly passed away on January 26 at the age of 57.
He was diagnosed with myeloma in February 2016, an incurable cancer of the plasma cells.
Despite the pain and discomfort he would have experienced, his wife Ursula said she was deeply proud of how he handled the disease and treatments that followed.
"How he fought the disease, he rarely complained, he did his best to protect us,” she said.
Todd was born in Rockhampton and spent his childhood years at Cawarral and Barlows Hill before attending high school at St Brendan's in Yeppoon.
After completing his schooling, he began his working career at Livingstone Shire Council in the finance section in 1978.
But his true passion was in sport.
He was probably one of Australia's biggest Broncos fans.
"Sometimes I joked that football came before me,” Ursula said.
"He was an avid supporter, he had all the merchandise.
"Todd would always support the Broncos, no matter what year it was, or whether they had a gun side leading into pre-season or not.
"He got so much joy from the Broncos and especially enjoyed watching young players from Central Queensland.”
Channelling his passion into his everyday life, Todd was a dedicated Yeppoon Seagulls football player from the 1980s to the early 90s.
Todd and Ursula married in 1990 and they began family life.
As Todd was getting older and injuries were becoming more frequent, he became more heavily involved with the club committee.
"He was a treasurer, supported games, did training, cooked barbecues, he was always around the team, he rallied them, on game days he was always there wherever the game was,” Ursula said.
Apart from juggling family life, full-time work and his involvement in the local footy team, Todd studied for an Associate Diploma in Business and then a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Accounting part-time for 10 years.
Once qualified, Todd applied for manager roles and was offered the role of director of corporate and community services at the Banana Shire Council in Biloela.
Moving to Biloela in 2001, Todd still supported the Yeppoon Seagulls when possible but also supported the Biloela Panthers as he was now a Biloela local.
He made a difference to a number of players and club members, represented by the day the Seagulls are holding in honour of him.
"It's a recognition of his legacy,” Ursula said.
The club approached Todd's family and Ursula was beyond words when they mentioned it to her.
"We were humbled and honoured as Todd would have been,” she said.
"We thought it was a really thoughtful thing to do and we really appreciate it.
"Todd would have been very surprised.”
Todd's parents Keith and Judy Sleeman always thought highly of their son and what he had achieved.
"They have been proud of Todd all his life and this just adds to that, it's nice to have that recognition,” Ursula said.
Six games will held tomorrow with clubs from across Rockhampton, Biloela, Ipswich, Yeppoon and Gladstone.
"I am very much looking forward to it, it's something positive to do in his memory,” Ursula said.
"We are doing some fund raising for the Leukaemia Foundation as well, the support provided to our family when Todd had to receive treatment in Brisbane was incredible, so the money will go to a good cause.”
Todd's memory will live on through his children, Thomas, 27, Clayton, 24 and Sophie, 8.
"He was a dedicated family man and provided well for his family, he had a good work ethic, was a loving husband, he loved to travel, he'd have his boys trips and his family trips
"He was a kind and gentle, decent hard working person.”