Danny Buderus is a True Blue and NRL premiership-winner alongside Mark Hughes but he believes his former Newcastle teammate is making a bigger impact off the field with his ‘Beanie for Brain Cancer’ fund-raiser than he did on the field with the Knights.
Hughes, now 45, scored 66 tries in 161 games for Newcastle along with three games at fullback in State of Origin for the NSW Blues (2001 series).
Buderus said he’s more in awe of what Hughes has done in setting up the Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF) to raise money to help victims and their families as they deal with brain cancer.
Hughes himself was diagnosed with the disease nine years ago and has to undergo scans every four months as part of his treatment.
“He’s always been team first Mark; now he’s created this powerful team with MHF – a handful of mates standing side-by-side and that’s the way he played his footy,” Buderus said.
“They’re relentlessly fighting hard to find a cure for this disease and what they’ve done so far has been little short of amazing.”
All players in the NRL’s Round 16 action this weekend – and the NSWRL’s premier competition, The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup – will wear the MHF Beanies as they run out before kick-off.
The MHF is also behind the 150km trek from Sydney to Newcastle to raise awareness of the cause.
The walk will end after three days at Hughes’ former home ground, McDonald Jones Stadium, for the Knights’ NRL game against the Gold Coast Titans at 6pm.
“To see him walk on the Knights ground there, where he had so much success, but it’s off the field where he’s going to have the most success,” Buderus said.
“He’s going to change people’s lives – has already done that.”
Fans can buy beanies at NRL matches from Thurs 30 June to Sunday 3 July, at Lowes and IGA stores or online.
The ‘Beanie for Brain Cancer’ round started back in 2014, when Hughes and his wife Kirralee ordered 5,000 beanies to sell – they raised an impressive $30,000.
“Eight years on we have now sold over 800,000 beanies, raised over $24 million and invested millions into research programs,” Hughes said.
“We are all beneficiaries of these funds.
“A ‘Beanieficiary’ - put simply - is someone who benefits from these little beanies whether that be today, tomorrow or generations from now.”
Every cent raised from the sale of MHF beanies goes towards research into brain cancer and the treatment and care of brain cancer patients.
Click here to support Beanie for Brain Cancer.