PORT ADELAIDE players have donated $5000 to the Childhood Cancer Association, inspired by veteran Travis Boak’s long-running connection with the organisation.
Boak has been an ambassador for the Childhood Cancer Association (CCA) for nearly 12 years, helping raise vital funds for the charity as well as making regular visits to children and their families who are dealing with the disease.
Boak’s work with the organisation was recognised on Wednesday when he was named a finalist in the AFL’s Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award, with the winner to be announced at the Brownlow Medal count later this month.
He was also a finalist in 2019 for the award, which recognises an AFL or AFLW player who has best demonstrated the values of the late former Melbourne Football Club President and player Jim Stynes, in their commitment to the community, helping others and making a difference and the way they played and represented the game on field.
Despite the impact of the pandemic restricting Boak’s ability to fundraise and have face-to-face interaction with families dealing with cancer, he has personally raised in excess of $22,000 for CCA, including having part proceeds donated to the organisation from a range of clothing designed to celebrate his 300th AFL game.
He also helped create an artwork featuring teammates, which was raffled off and raised nearly $18,500.
Thursday’s $5,000 donation was Boak’s idea, supported by the rest of the playing group, as part of the AFL Players Care official charity initiative.
“We know you didn’t get to have the charity game for my 300th at Adelaide Oval and you’ve faced a few challenges,” Boak said on Thursday while surprising CCA Chief Executive Cath O’Loughlin with the cheque via zoom.
“You guys are amazing and I’ve seen first-hand the impact you have on so many families so it’s a little donation from the players but I’m sure it’ll go a long way.”
Ms O’Loughlin was both surprised by and grateful for the donation.
“It is really tough. We were really sorry we weren’t there for your 300th and to try raise a bit of money so this is really sensational,” she said.
“As you know, we don’t get any government support and we rely heavily on people in the community and when you step up like that and give back, it’s very touching and very thoughtful.”
AFL Players Care was established in 2014 with players contributing $50 of their match fee each week.
Half of that money is then donated to the AFL Players’ Association official charity partner, Ladder, to help tackle youth homelessness, while the rest is contributed to the AFL Players Care fund, which is distributed to clubs so that players can support other charities they are passionate about.