With former Canberra captain Alan Tongue acting as an ambassador of the NRL's 'Kick Bowel Cancer' campaign, current Raiders halfback Sam Williams has backed his former teammate and club for raising awareness about the perils of the second-biggest killing cancer in Australia.
Wearing special 'cure cancer' jerseys in their epic 41-34 win over the Bulldogs in Round 11, Williams said it was the least they could do for the campaign, which Tongue holds close to his heart having lost his grandmother to the disease in 2007.
The Raiders and their major sponsor Huawei presented Bowel Cancer Australia a $10,000 cheque in Sydney on Monday, having auctioned off their Round 11 jumpers.
17 match worn player jerseys and one signed by the team and Coach Ricky Stuart were made available for bidding in an online auction. The jerseys were not available for retail and the auction was the only way for fans to secure one.
"Tonguey is a great ambassador for the game and getting him involved with something like this is always a positive. I'm sure he's more than happy to help out as well as obviously having those close links to bowel cancer. It's good now we can go one step further and raise a little bit of money throughout the club," Williams said.
"We don't, as players, have to do too much to bring awareness but it makes a massive difference – it's something as simple as the jersey we wear and I guess the donations the club can get through the game and through the jersey.
"It's about getting the message out there and making sure people know about bowel cancer and the ways of preventing it so everybody can be better off."
With bowel cancer affecting 15,000 Australians each year, with 4000 dying as a result, its impact hits home far and wide.
With disease prevention made easier with early detection, Tongue and his fellow ambassadors simply aim to start a conversation about bowel cancer while encouraging individuals to get themselves tested.
Bowel Cancer Australia CEO Julien Wiggins was on hand at Rugby League Central to receive the donation and pointed out the positives of the disease by roping in the core messages of the 'Kick Cancer' campaign.
"It's one of our unique cancers in a sense, it can be prevented and that's through early detection. If detected early, 90 per cent cancers can be treated successfully so it's good news if there is to be good news to come from cancer," Wiggins said.
"We're very grateful for the NRL and to their bowel cancer campaign most importantly."
Huawei CEO Jeremy Mitchell added: "This year we were very happy to get on board with the NRL's program to 'Kick Bowel Cancer' and support Bowel Cancer Australia. Through the fans we were able to raise some money and raise awareness about this very important disease."
Mario Fenech, NRL Community Ambassador, said "NRL and Bowel Cancer Australia have had a great partnership since 2007. In 2011, our Players helped launch Bowel Cancer Awareness campaigning and this years' campaign, NRL Kick Bowel Cancer, is taking the awareness to all new heights."
"I'm proud to be a part of the campaign alongside Alan Tongue, Adam McDougall, Dave Shillington, Josh Perry and James Tedesco. I'm thrilled Raiders and Huawei have got behind the NRL Kick Bowel Cancer this year," he said.