Fans Players

Lyons hearted

Growing up in bayside Melbourne, the South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL) was a big part of my childhood.

Although we were a couple of years apart, Robert ‘Connor’ Dawes also played in the same league.

In April 2013, Connor passed away from brain cancer.

Inspired by his memory, his family created the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation (RCD) to support brain matters in the areas of research, care and development, with a dream of funding the science to end brain cancer.

The RCD Foundation started by selling beanies and that’s where my involvement started.

I really enjoyed being able to support an important cause and my involvement has grown from there.

My brother Corey (who got drafted to the Lions in 2016) and I presented the idea to Brisbane about donating $5,000 through the AFL Players Care initiative and the club were incredibly supportive of our idea.

Last week we had Hannah, Connor’s sister, join us for an inner sanctum experience where they watched us train and spent time with the playing group.

It was a great opportunity for us to be able to show them what we’re all about at the Lions and that as a club we’re here to support important causes.

The RCD Foundation have been doing amazing work since their inception.

They’ve raised more than $4.5 million in six years and are now the largest foundation for paediatric brain cancer in Australia – an incredible feat for an organisation that started out just six years ago with only a few people on board.

Having been supporting the RCD Foundation from close to the start is something I’m incredibly proud of.

To be able to donate the money through AFL Players Care to RCD was the epitome of my work with them, especially to share that moment with Corey.

AFL Players Care has been running since 2015 and provides a great opportunity for players to become actively involved in important causes and charities that are close to our hearts.

Brain cancer is the most fatal of all childhood cancers, with current clinical treatments only helping 50 per cent of children and leaving 90 per cent with lifelong physical and mental impairments.

It’s why the RCD Foundation are on a mission to change the odds and I’m proud to be supporting them every step of the way.

You can learn more about the Robert Connors Dawes Foundation here.