Professional Golfer and International Patron of Challenge
My passion to help sick children started as a 13-year-old boy when I lost a good family friend to cancer. I still remember clearly the feelings of sadness and confusion. Thinking back to that time, all I wanted to do was help my friend and his family. My life as a professional golfer has given me the opportunity to do exactly that. In 1992, Challenge approached me to become an Ambassador to the organisation and this started a special relationship that continues to this day.
I initially started visiting children in hospital and later that year, organised the first ever Robert Allenby Golf Day. It’s been so rewarding to see the Golf Day and Gala Dinner grow from an intimate affair to now be one of Australia’s most successful charity events. To date, with the support of my friends, businesses and the general public, we have raised in excess of $20 million for Challenge.
I am so fortunate to do what I do. I get to travel the world playing a sport that I love but my involvement with Challenge is by far the most rewarding. Over the years, I’ve met hundreds of children and their families both in Australia and America. Many I’ve come to know on a very personal level through the ‘Trip of a Lifetime’, my visits to hospital and some who have joined me on the golf course.
I am extremely proud to be the International Patron of Challenge. I value the programs and services it provides and I have seen first-hand the positive effect the organisation has on its members. It takes the support of many to ensure Challenge delivers its continual support to children and families and it humbles me that I play a part in the workings of this wonderful charity.
AFL Legend and Coach of the Collingwood Football Club and National Patron of Challenge
It is always an honour to be held up as a role-model and it is an honour which I take very seriously whether it be in the sporting realm or with my own children. So it was with great pride that I accepted the invitation to be the Patron of Challenge in 2008 to help support this organisation and its fundamental goal of bringing happiness to the lives of children and families living with cancer.
It is one of the world’s greatest injustices when children become seriously ill. Our youth and childhood is meant to be a carefree time; I remember it being filled with afternoons kicking my football in the park, playing with friends or riding my bike to the local milk bar without a worry in the world. However, when a child is diagnosed with cancer, their lives revolve around their illness and they are unable to experience the richness of a normal, hospital-free childhood.
Fortunately, this is where Challenge steps in and gives children and their families a sense of normality. With many programs, camps, activities and holiday retreats tailored specifically by age for children, parents and siblings, Challenge alleviates the stress associated with treatment and makes the overall journey more bearable.
Having a family of my own, I can’t imagine the devastation and worry that families with a sick child endure on a day-to-day basis. I am humbled and find it incredibly rewarding to do whatever I can to support Challenge, and I strongly encourage you and the wider community to get on board.
Australian Basketball Legend, TV and Radio Personality
I am proud to be associated with such an amazing organisation. During my long friendship with Challenge, I have helped to raise funds, organised tickets to many sporting events (including the Olympics!) and have happily given my time to pass on secret basketball techniques and visit the kids in hospital. As a man who cherishes his family, I can see the impact Challenge has on families is significant and I have no hesitation in endorsing the services and programs they provide.
I am delighted to be involved with Challenge and to see the outstanding work they continue to do with kids and their families. It is a humbling experience to have the opportunity to be a part of the organisation and in particular to visit the kids in hospital and see what a difference Challenge makes to the families through the many services and programs they provide.
It is also a fairly good opportunity to play video games throughout a morning and not appear lazy. I will continue to be a part of the Challenge family and look forward to more people in the community becoming involved and joining with Challenge to make a real difference and join with me in helping to put a smile on the faces of these great kids.
International TV Personality
Challenge is a wonderful organisation and I’m very fortunate to have been involved in such a beautiful cause for over 20 years. Even before my sister, Kylie, was diagnosed with breast cancer, I have been aware of the impact an illness can have on the family unit. It brings me great joy to see these children smile through adversity and I am delighted to be able to give back and be a part of the Challenge family.
Australian Actress, Comedian, Writer, Radio and Television Producer
I am constantly in awe of the work Challenge does to facilitate a degree of normality and happiness in the lives of families living with cancer. I fully support the organisation and have been privileged and humbled to help out with many different events including the ‘Trip of a Lifetime’. It was an absolute delight spending time with the kids in America, as well as providing some light and much needed humour to many families, children and teenagers in such difficult periods of their lives.
Having been diagnosed with Leukaemia three times over the course of my life – first when I was 17 years of age, second when I was 30, and most recently now at 36 years of age – I understand the confronting ordeal children living with cancer face, along with the stress felt by their families. I personally have experienced the positive and uplifting impact Challenge’s programs and services can have on someone living with cancer and understand how they can inspire you to keep battling your illness and to stay positive.
When I was 17, I was passionate about golf. Challenge introduced me to Robert Allenby who became a mentor and inspired me to develop the work-ethic and tenacity which allowed me to forge a successful amateur golfing career. After a successful amateur career culminating in representing Australia in the Eisenhower Cup, I turned professional in 2004, playing on the Asian Tour then the Nationwide Tour reaching the pinnacle PGA Tour in 2007.
After being married in December 2011 and expecting my first child in March 2012, my life could not have been any better. Unfortunately, a week before the birth of my beautiful daughter, Lusi, I was diagnosed for a second time with Leukaemia. In June 2012, I underwent a double cord transplant. My treatment at the time was successful and in late 2014, I happily returned to the PGA Tour.
Life was tracking well and in 2016, we were blessed with a second daughter, Jemma.
However, in mid-2017, my leukaemia unfortunately returned, and I am now presently undergoing treatment.
In 2018, I welcomed the good news that my recent transplant has 100% grafted. Things are beginning to look up and will hopefully continue to trend in that direction.
Throughout all these highs and lows, Challenge has always supported me and will always have a special place in my heart. I will continue to support the organisation in any capacity as it has done for me.
My relationship with Challenge started in the early ‘90s. I was touched not only by their hard work, but also the heart in their endeavour to raise awareness of cancer and to raise much-needed funds for Challenge.
I loved meeting these beautiful children and their families; listening to them and helping where I could. Over two decades later, and having experienced life with the illness myself, my involvement with Challenge and my interactions with the children and their families continue to be an inspiration to me.
AFL Legend, TV and Radio Personality
Throughout my career, I have been more than happy to assist Challenge in whatever way I can, either by being involved with football clinics, organising footy jumpers signed by AFL players or spending quality time with the kids in hospital or camps.
It’s great to see their faces light up and to watch them have some fun kicking the footy. I am proud to be involved with such an enthusiastic and driven organisation, and to be a part of the work that Challenge does in making a real difference to the lives of children and families living with cancer.