United to bat­tle cancer

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY SARAH SCULLY

With the Grampians re­gion suf­fer­ing one of the high­est rates of cancer in the state, you would be hard pressed to find some­one not af­fected by the dis­ease in some shape or form.

We all know some­one – or are some­one – bat­tling the dis­ease in one of its many forms.

The ‘lucky’ ones are in re­mis­sion. Too many have had their lives cut short.

It is this knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence – as a pa­tient, carer, fam­ily mem­ber, friend, col­league or so on – that fuels our pas­sion for events such as Re­lay for Life.

The hope that we might one day find a cure, to pre­vent fu­ture gen­er­a­tions hav­ing to en­dure our bat­tles and losses, is why we con­tinue to fundraise for or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the Cancer Coun­cil and, closer to home, the new Wim­mera Cancer Cen­tre.

Since the late Don Johns first es­tab­lished a state-of-the-art on­col­ogy cen­tre as Wim­mera Health Care Group Foun­da­tion’s num­ber-one pri­or­ity for Hor­sham in 2014, the Wim­mera-south­ern Mallee com­mu­nity has dug deep to help make it a re­al­ity.

Po­lit­i­cal lob­by­ing and govern­ment con­tri­bu­tions are vi­tal for a project on this scale, but they rarely hap­pen with­out com­mu­nity buy-in.

The com­mu­nity took own­er­ship of this project in its early stages, rais­ing more than $1-mil­lion for the Rachael’s Wish fundrais­ing ap­peal, named in hon­our of cancer sur­vivor and former Mur­toa teacher Rachael Lit­tore.

Wim­mera-south­ern Mallee clubs, or­gan­i­sa­tions, busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als joined forces to reach the to­tal, how­ever al­though the $5.3-mil­lion cen­tre is now un­der con­struc­tion, the fundrais­ers are still oc­cur­ring to­day.

The driv­ing force be­hind many of these small events is an op­por­tu­nity to hon­our a loved one lost to cancer.

La­harum Foot­ball Netball Club will do just that at Cameron Oval on Satur­day night.

Keg for Mildew

A ‘Keg for Mildew’ event will pay trib­ute to late life mem­ber Robert ‘Mildew’ Matthews, who lost his bat­tle with cancer in De­cem­ber last year.

Matthews played ju­nior foot­ball at Sun­ny­side and started his se­nior ca­reer with Won­won­dah, then Im­pe­ri­als-won­won­dah.

He had a stint with then Wim­mera league out­fit Ru­pa­nyup be­fore ar­riv­ing at his beloved La­harum in 1977. His play­ing ca­reer with the Demons spanned 14 years and in­cluded 318 games, 424 goals and a best and fairest along­side many other awards.

Matthews was a La­harum board mem­ber for sev­eral years, a di­rec­tor of foot­ball and spent many hours at Cameron Oval as di­rec­tor of ground man­age­ment.

Matthews’ fam­ily has ex­tended an open in­vi­ta­tion for peo­ple to gather in the clu­b­rooms af­ter the se­nior match against No­rad­juha-quan­tong.

A keg will be tapped, and a ‘whisky hour’ of­fered, with all dona­tions go­ing to­wards the Wim­mera Cancer Cen­tre.

Matthews’ son Ger­ard said the fundraiser would have been up his fa­ther’s al­ley.

“Dad would love the idea of catch­ing up with mates from both sides and hav­ing a chat about the footy over a beer – as long as it was af­ter the game,” he said.

“He’d also have loved whisky hour, as this was his go-to when he got sick of beer.”

Ger­ard said any­one who knew his fa­ther well knew how much he loved foot­ball.

“His great­est dis­ap­point­ment was never play­ing in a win­ning foot­ball grand fi­nal, al­though he took great plea­sure from our suc­cess in re­cent years,” he said.

“If you watch the DVD of our premier­ship in 2013, which he did pro­fusely, he was pretty much the first one on the ground once the siren sounded.”

Ger­ard con­tin­ues to wear his fa­ther’s num­ber 16 and sis­ter Leah is a mem­ber of the C Grade netball team.

“Dad loved La­harum, par­tic­u­larly the fam­ily na­ture of the club,” Ger­ard said.

“He would have been proud as punch to see his grand­son Tex play his first game of ‘mi­nis’ in the red and the blue this year, al­though he would have said he was too young at only four.”

The Keg for Mildew event will fol­low the se­nior match, with whisky hour from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

The La­harum club has a his­tory of sup­port­ing the Rachael’s Wish cam­paign through a high tea, which it has hosted in con­junc­tion with Ru­pa­nyup Foot­ball Netball Club for the past three years.

The ‘ladies day’, in me­mory of an­other late La­harum life mem­ber, Michele Mibus, has raised more than $10,500 for the cancer cen­tre.

Mrs Mibus lost her bat­tle with ovar­ian cancer in Fe­bru­ary 2016.

TRIB­UTE: La­harum Foot­ball Netball Club will host a ‘Keg for Mildew’ event in hon­our of late life mem­ber Robert Matthews, pic­tured with chil­dren Ger­ard Matthews and Leah Askew.

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