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In an amazing display of generosity, the rugby league community has rallied to raise $2,619,000 in the NRL’s Beanie for Brain Cancer Round for the Mark Hughes Foundation funding brain cancer research.

The result smashed the $2 million target and surpassed the $1.75 million raised in the inaugural round in 2017 by almost $870,000. The fundraising campaign will now continue this year, aiming to reach the $3 million mark.

All money raised during the Beanie for Brain Cancer Round goes directly to brain cancer research and patient support. The Mark Hughes Foundation will fund research projects jointly and in alignment with the National Brain Cancer Mission, with the aim of doubling survival rates and improving the quality of life for patients with brain cancer in the next 10 years.

The concept was the creation of former NRL Footy Show and Nine NRL Executive Producer, Matt Callander, who died from brain cancer in October 2017. Along with Mark Hughes, an NRL premiership winner with the Newcastle Knights, who established the foundation after being diagnosed in 2013.

Hughes said today: “The Mark Hughes Foundation is thrilled to announce that due to the amazing NRL community support we have raised an astonishing $2,619,000. I’m so proud that Matt Callander’s legacy lives on and we have achieved this with his wife Anne and family by our side.

“Special thanks to Todd Greenberg and his team from the NRL, Matt’s former employers, the Nine Network, who have worked tirelessly to put this together, and Fox Sports, who have gone above and beyond the call as have so many other forms of media across the country.

“Another highlight was Bill McDonald from McDonald Jones Homes giving up the naming rights of the Newcastle Knights stadium to allow it to be called Beanie for Brain Cancer Stadium for this round. There are so many great stories of support out there.

“I can’t thank the supporters enough, the heart and soul of this campaign. Without them purchasing a beanie this would not be the success it is. Finally, we thank the amazing players and coaches, the leaders of our game, whose commitment and support of our cause is overwhelming. We are so grateful.” 

Sportsbet donated $60,000 to the cause after 41 tries were scored in Round 12, with $1000 for a try and $2000 for a try scored by a captain. Club captains Cameron Smith, Daly Cherry-Evans, Greg Inglis and Chris Lawrence all crossed the tryline while Valentine Holmes scored three tries and Jesse Ramien and Nick Cotric scored doubles.


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