ROCKHAMPTON basketball star Peni Nasalo will headline a heritage benefit game to raise funds for the people of Fiji affected by Cyclone Winston.
And he has recruited several other sporting legends, including his cousin - dual international rugby player Lote Tuqiri - and former Queensland Firebirds netballer Simone Nalatu, for the event.
It is a cause close to Peni's heart, given that a lot of his family still live in Fiji. While they escaped Winston's fury without serious injury they, like most residents, have been dramatically affected.
"I've seen pictures of the devastation," Peni said. "While it is not uncommon for Fiji to be hit by cyclones, the people there say Winston is the worst they have ever seen.
"The infrastructure over there is totally different to what we have here in Australia. I knew that with a Category 5 cyclone going through Fiji there would be barely anything left.
"On the outer islands, villages are pretty much wiped out. The residents have nothing left; the communities have been flattened and there's just rubble.
"But the people of Fiji aren't materialistic at all. They are just grateful to be alive and can always see the positives."
Peni said the game, to be played in Brisbane tomorrow night, was being organised as the regular Legends game by his former QBL team, the South West Metro Pirates.
"I was already going to be involved but during the organisation of the game the cyclone happened and I asked if we could incorporate some fundraising aspect and it all took off from there," he said.
"It's gone from a simple idea to something much bigger, and people are really getting behind it.
"It's going to be a fun day. I think three quarters of the stands will be full of our family and friends."
Peni played with the Brisbane Bullets in the NBL and has won five QBL championships, his first with the Pirates and three with the Rockhampton Rockets.
He said it was great to be able to use his sporting profile to help those in need in Fiji.
"It's a small portion in the scheme of things but it's a good feeling to know you can help in some way.
"I have always been in Australia but I was brought up with very strong cultural ties.
"To see the destruction in Fiji still hits very close to home even though we're a long way away. It really helps to put things into perspective."