As part of a new partnership between the AFL Players’ Association and Cancer Council Victoria, AFL footballers are challenging footy fans to have the harder conversations with the men in their lives to ensure they’re around in the future to make more memories.
The Make More Memories campaign will run in the lead-up to the 2014 AFL finals series and aims to shrink the cancer divide between men and women, which sees men 21 percent more likely to be diagnosed with cancer.
Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt, North Melbourne defender Scott Thompson and Carlton backman Sam Rowe have been announced as Cancer Council Victoria Ambassadors; all three have a personal connection with cancer.
As part of the Make More Memories campaign, Riewoldt has spoken publicly for the first time about his experience with cancer. A number of years ago, Riewoldt was persuaded by his partner to have a spot on his back checked by a doctor. Tests showed the spot was a melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer – that had to be removed.
“As men, we’re not always the best at talking about our health – but my experience really hit home just how important it is to make sure, no matter how small your concerns might be, that you do talk about it and get checked by a doctor,” Riewoldt said.
Acting AFL Players’ Association CEO Ian Prendergast says the players are proud to throw their weight behind a campaign that will help save lives.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s your dad, brother, uncle or best mate – be bold and have a chat about the small changes we can all make to reduce the risk of a cancer diagnosis,” Prendergast said.
While conversations about health can sometimes be uncomfortable, Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper says the benefits of being pro-active and addressing concerns early-on can lead to fantastic outcomes.
“The good news is that one in three cancers can be prevented. Men can make simple lifestyle changes – like making sure they’re SunSmart, eating healthy and being physically active, limiting alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight – to cut their cancer risk,” Harper said.
“Cancer screening saves lives. Bowel cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer, but is highly curable if found early. Make sure the men around you do the test; it’s simple and can be done in your own home.”
The Make More Memories campaign is encouraging all footy fans to spread awareness by creating a footy card with their favourite football memories and sharing it on social media.