Fremantle Dockers to support family of Amelia ‘Milli’ Lucas at public funeral at Optus Stadium

Charlotte EltonThe West Australian
Fremantle Dockers Captain Nat Fyfe talks to Milli Lucas after the Fremantle Dockers beat the Port Adelaide Power at Optus Stadium in Perth.
Camera IconFremantle Dockers Captain Nat Fyfe talks to Milli Lucas after the Fremantle Dockers beat the Port Adelaide Power at Optus Stadium in Perth. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The Sunday Times

Optus Stadium is often a sea of purple as Freo fans cheer on the Dockers.

But today it will become a sea of turquoise-blue — the favourite colour of Perth schoolgirl Amelia “Milli” Lucas — as loved ones and members of the public gather for the beloved teenager’s funeral.

Milli died on Monday, January 4. During her four-year struggle with cancer, she captured the hearts of thousands of West Australians with her bravery, spirit and unrelenting optimism in the face of difficult odds.

Today, the 14-year-old’s parents will say goodbye to their cherished daughter at the very place where she had the “best day of her life” when she tossed the coin before a 2019 Fremantle-Port Adelaide clash.

Fremantle Captain Nat Fyfe and Milli Lucas lead the Fremantle Dockers from the ground after beating the Port Adelaide Power at Optus Stadium in Perth.
Camera IconFremantle Captain Nat Fyfe and Milli Lucas lead the Fremantle Dockers from the ground after beating the Port Adelaide Power at Optus Stadium in Perth. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The Sunday Times

They have invited every West Australian to come and pay their respects, asking only that attendees wear something turquoise-blue in honour of their courageous daughter.

“(Milli’s father) Grant Lucas and I have decided to have a public service because of all the beautiful support and love she had,” Milli’s mum Monica Smirk wrote on Facebook last week.

“The Fremantle Dockers have helped us prepare and we have booked Optus Stadium.

“Let’s all make this a special send off for our shining, smiling Angel.”

Milli was just nine when she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in 2016, a grade VI glioblastoma.

When her tumour was deemed inoperable in 2019, Milli’s family raised $170,000 for surgery to be performed by renowned Sydney neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo.

Amelia "Milli" Lucas with her parents.
Camera IconAmelia "Milli" Lucas with her parents. Credit: Facebook / Monica Smirk/Facebook / Monica Smirk

The surgery successfully removed 98 per cent of the tumour — but in March last year, the youngster’s family received the devastating news her cancer had returned.

She fought on, but the cancer progressed, despite Milli flying to Sydney for further treatment. She was ultimately returned to Perth on a mercy flight with the Royal Flying Doctor Service after an anonymous donor paid for the private 10-hour round trip.

Her death last week was met by an outpouring of grief.

A post by Milli’s mother — describing her “angel” as “flying high” — received more than 700 comments within an hour, all offering their condolences and tributes to the inspirational teen.

Dr Teo who gave her precious extra time with her family, described her as a “beautiful soul”.

Dr Charlie Teo and Milli Lucas.
Camera IconDr Charlie Teo and Milli Lucas. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The Sunday Times

“Milli’s legacy is simple but enlightening,” he said. “When faced with adversity, you can be angry, resentful, bitter and consumed or you can accept the hand that you’ve been dealt and make the most of what you have.

“Milli was an exceptional example of how to make the most of one’s life. She was dignified, courageous, happy, considerate, determined; a beautiful soul.”The Dockers — the club that meant so much to the teen — also reached out.

“Black armbands for Milli today,” Nat Fyfe, Milli’s hero, posted on Instagram last week. “She captured our hearts with her courage. Rest in peace, Mill.”

The club released a statement saying it was “deeply saddened” by her passing. “It was at an extra special game day when Fremantle played Port Adelaide in 2019 at Optus Stadium where Milli stole the hearts of Freo fans forever,” it said.

Fremantle Captain Nat Fyfe gives Milli Lucas a hug.
Camera IconFremantle Captain Nat Fyfe gives Milli Lucas a hug. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The Sunday Times

“Milli’s smile that day will be etched in our minds, always.”

Between 1000 and 1500 people are expected to attend today’s funeral, a testament to Milli’s impact on so many people.

Among mourners will be representatives of the Dockers — Fremantle president Dale Alcock will speak and it is also anticipated Fyfe will be there.

The funeral is open to everyone who wants to attend, and gates will open at Optus Stadium at 10.30am for an 11am service. Attendees can enter through gates C and D and will be seated on level one.

The family will not be accepting flowers, but will have donations boxes for the Kyle Andrews Foundation, Charlie Teo Foundation and Team Fred.

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