Army veteran and Bombers fanatic Joel Sardi has been treated to a surprise call from Essendon captain Dyson Heppell and club great Dustin Fletcher ahead of Anzac Day.

Sardi's story is one of sheer bravery. The 29-year-old served in the Australian Army for five years as a rifleman in 7RAR Adelaide, including a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan in 2013.

But on August 31, 2014, his life changed forever. Falling down a staircase, Sardi sustained devastating injuries to his spinal chord, leaving him a C5 quadriplegic.

There are still some messages getting through his spinal cord, but the extent of Sardi's recovery is unknown. He is paralysed from the shoulders down, has no movement in his legs and can only activate his biceps, forearms and wrists. 

Despite the tragedy and tough journey ahead of him, Sardi has overcome many challenges since 2014, marrying the love of his life in 2018 and hoping to one day walk again.

He attributes his love of Essendon to his uncle, who convinced him to support the Bombers despite being in a predominantly Collingwood-supporting family.

Sardi grew up in the same area as David Zaharakis, and his favourite Essendon memory is the 1999 Anzac Day game - the first Anzac Day game he attended - when the Black Hawk landed in the middle of the MCG.

Having attended the Bombers' the past four Anzac Day matches, he would have been in attendance on Saturday if not for the AFL shutdown.

Watch Sardi's chat with Heppell and Fletcher below, and be sure to donate to the ANZAC Appeal to support war veterans and their families. 

15:31 Mins
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Heppell and Fletcher surprise veteran ahead of ANZAC Day

Dyson Heppell and Dustin Fletcher surprise ex-army and massive Bombers fan Joel Sardi ahead of ANZAC Day.

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