Port Waratah Coal Services has kick-started the countdown to the NRL Beanie for Brain Cancer Round by lighting up its Carrington Terminal for the Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF).
The Hunter-based shiploaders are donning the facility in blue, during the month, in support of the charity’s annual fundraising and awareness campaign.
The illumination project will run each night until Sunday 3 July, which coincides with the popular NRL promotion that was the brainchild of the late Nine rugby league executive producer Matt Callander, who lost his fight with glioblastoma in 2017.
On the same weekend, Hughes’ former club, the Newcastle Knights, tackle the Gold Coast Titans at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday 1 July.
“Port Waratah’s support through the generosity of their employees and the organisation’s dollar matching commitment has been a fantastic local partnership over the past six years,” he said.
“We’re really excited to see the Carrington shiploaders light up in our blue.”
In Australia, brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in children and adults under 40.
On average, approximately 1,970 brain cancers are diagnosed each year, which is roughly one person every five hours.
Hughes and his wife, Kirralee, established the MHF in 2014, following the footballer’s own diagnosis of high-grade brain cancer.
The idea from his hospital bed was to raise awareness and funds for research and improve patient outcomes.
Incredibly, since its inception, the foundation has sold more than 800,000 beanies while in excess of $20 million has been raised for research.
“We’re a small team at MHF with an amazing network of volunteers and supporters,” Hughes said.
“The funds we raise go directly to finding a cure, better treatments and patient care.”
Port Waratah CEO Hennie du Plooy admitted he was pleased to celebrate its enduring partnership with the Mark Hughes Foundation.
“Our employees and local community feel very connected to the Beanie for Brain Cancer drive and the MHF putting a spotlight on this very important cause,” he said.
“Health is a priority area for our Community Investment and Partnership Program.
“So, we’re proud to support the foundation and help raise awareness this year.”
This is Port Waratah’s fifth annual shiploader illumination project to raise awareness for one of its community partners.
“The initiative lit up the shiploaders in green in support of the Hunter Medical Research Institute in 2018; pink in support of Hunter Breast Cancer Education & Support Network in 2019; blue in support of Hunter Prostate Cancer Alliance in 2020; and purple for Domestic Violence Awareness in support of Got Your Back Sista in 2021,” Mr du Plooy said.
“We also make donations to these local charities and community organisations as part of our partnership to further fund services and research for improved health and wellness outcomes in our local region.
“The Port Waratah Community Investment and Partnership Program has invested $2,250,000 in the past three years with more than $600,000 invested to support health-related projects and services.”