Australians have rallied behind the Mark Hughes Foundation to raise $2.55 million across the NRL’s Beanie for Brain Cancer Round.
This year’s campaign urged fans to buy a MHF beanie online, at selected IGA and Lowes stores, or to donate.
A fundraising target of $2 million was surpassed on Sunday afternoon, providing a vital boost to brain cancer research, while 135,000 beanies were sold.
Founder Mark Hughes said that, during these extraordinary times, organisers weren’t sure how the campaign would unfold.
“We should have known better,” he said.
“Once again, the rugby league community and beyond are right behind us.
“We are continually blown away at the support from all levels.”
All funds raised will go straight to research, with the NRL Beanie for Brain Cancer Fellowship recently appointed at The Children’s Medical Institute, joining the ongoing Matt Callander Fellowship at Kolling Institute and $2 million in innovation grants.
Apart from selling beanies, Hughes said the national exposure and awareness for brain cancer gave real hope to patients and their families.
“The beanie has become a symbol of hope for all of us out there facing this disease,” he said.
“On behalf of the Callander family and the MHF team, a sincere thank you for all your support.
“You are helping us change the outcome for future patients diagnosed [and] we are truly humbled.”
Statistics show survival rates for brain cancer have increased by just 1% over the last 30 years and it receives less than 5% of federal funding for cancer research.
Brain cancer kills more children than any other disease, while only two out of 10 people diagnosed will live more than five years.
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said this year’s campaign was an outstanding result for the Mark Hughes Foundation.
“What I’m most proud about this year is that, no matter the obstacle, the game, its fans and our partners have banded together and delivered remarkable outcomes like this weekend,” he said.
Hughes thanked the NRL and the media for coming together, as well as supporters, clubs, players, coaching staff, referees, and CEOs.
Visit the Mark Hughes Foundation’s website for more information or to donate.