Mark Hughes gears up for NRL's Beanies for Brain Cancer Round
Former Newcastle Knights premiership winner Mark Hughes knows he faces a personal battle with brain cancer for the rest of his life.
After receiving a shock diagnosis in 2013, Hughes continues to fight the disease while continuing work with his foundation to raise more awareness through various campaigns.
Statistics show an average of 1600 people are diagnosed with brain cancer in Australia each year and that it is the biggest killer of people under the age of 40.
"I get scanned every four months but it's brain cancer, no one is ever going to tap me on the shoulder and 'say well done it's gone'. That doesn't happen with brain cancer," Hughes told NRL.com.
"It's a tough disease and a battle I have to fight for the rest of my life - and hopefully for a long time. That's how I live so make the most of it.
"For anyone with cancer, it's a tough blow to get it and you've got to take it day by day and do your best. Live a normal and healthy life in your mind with positive people around you."
The Mark Hughes Foundation will link with the NRL for a third consecutive season in round 12. This year's fundraising venture has extra significance, with the rugby league community mourning the loss of founder Matt Callander, who lost his battle with brain cancer in October last year.
Callander played an integral part in rugby league's partnership with the Mark Hughes Foundation with last year's corresponding fundraiser surpassing $1.75 million.
"I pledged to Matt it would be a yearly thing and something he can be proud of and work hard to do," Hughes said.
"With his work, he helped the whole rugby league community unite together as one. They all just supported the cause from grassroots to players at an elite level. It really is an amazing round and he will always be remembered for the work he did."
Newcastle have released limited edition jerseys to wear against the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday, while newly-designed beanies will be available at all games across the weekend for $20 each.
"The support of the NRL, media and all players binding together again to help our cause," Hughes said.
"We feel like with what we've done and other charities have been able to do, that brain cancer is on the map a bit more. That wasn't happening a while ago. We're proud that it is now but we will never give up the fight for what's ahead."