Australian elite athletes come together to support Daffodil Day Appeal
This August Australian elite athletes and coaches, including Paddle Australia’s Olympic canoeist Bernadette Wallace, will share their personal stories and encourage people to donate a virtual daffodil in support of Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day Appeal, the annual fundraising campaign which culminates in Daffodil Day on 28 August 2020.
Cancer Council is Australia’s leading cancer charity and aims to raise more than $2 million across Australia with the Daffodil Day Appeal, which is delivered in digital form this year.
Tokyo bound Canoe Sprint paddler Bernadette Wallace is one of many AIS athletes who want to share their personal stories to support the Daffodil Day Appeal and highlight the importance of cancer research and prevention.
“When I was 25 years old, I underwent my first skin check. We found a freckle on my neck that had to be removed. A year later it was discovered that it was actually a melanoma growing on my neck,” Wallace said.
“When I went to get my health check I was a bit nervous because I had not done one of these before. I thought I was young and fit and healthy, an athlete who loved the beach and never really had anything wrong. But I also knew that I am in the sun everyday, so I had to start somewhere, and I am glad that I did,” she said.
Earlier this year Wallace, now 31, secured Australia’s first-ever women’s canoe Olympic quota spots when she won the C2 500m event at the Oceania Canoe Sprint Championships alongside team-mate Josephine Bulmer.
Next year the pair will make their Olympic debut at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which for the first time include women’s canoeing events in the canoe sprint competition programme.
Men’s water polo player and Olympic hopeful Lachlan Hollis is also a cancer survivor who is hoping to get more people donating this Daffodil Day.
“In 2013 I was diagnosed with a very rare form of germ cell tumor. I was playing professionally overseas and I had some chronic back pain. It got worse and worse over the course of four or five months. I returned to Australia where a full body scan revealed a germ cell tumor,” said Hollis.
‘I was 22 years old, I was training, I was active as well. When I got the news from the doctor, I was actually heart broken. But thanks to my family and my close friends, we actually came together and we got through it together
“I must say that water polo did save my life. If I wasn’t an active person the symptoms wouldn’t have come on and therefore the cancer could have spread around the body
“In terms of your body, you know it best. My advice is if it doesn’t feel right, go and get it checked up. Don’t sit back and wait for something major to occur,” he said.
Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) CEO Peter Conde said he was pleased to see Australian elite athletes and coaches participate in impactful community engagement activities and use their profile to help raise funds for vital cancer research.
“The AIS is delighted to support the Cancer Council through the Daffodil Day Appeal, which is raising funds for Cancer Council’s life-saving cancer research throughout the month of August,” Conde said.
“Cancer is something that affects many families in Australia and unfortunately many people within our sporting community have first-hand experience of how devastating its impact can be.
“By sharing their stories they want to spread a message of hope, but also raise awareness around the crucial part played by research and prevention in order to win this ongoing battle,” he said.
14 AIS athletes and coaches from 7 national sports will take part in helping to raise awareness and funds on Daffodil Day this Friday.
To donate a virtual daffodil and support cancer research go to www.daffodilday.com.au/AIS