Schools show support for Mark Hughes Beanie Day

Schools across the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle have played a small but important part in helping raise funds for the Mark Hughes Foundation by hosting events during the annual Beanie for Brain Cancer Awareness Week.

Since being diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2013, Mark Hughes, a former Newcastle Knights player and a former student at All Saint’s College, Maitland, has made it his mission in life to find a cure.

After realising how underfunded brain cancer research in Australia was, Mark and his wife Kirralee set up The Mark Hughes Foundation in 2014 to help raise money towards finding new treatments and, one day, a cure.

To date, the foundation has raised more than $5 million since its establishment.

One of the major fundraising events for the foundation is the Beanie for Brain Cancer Awareness Week. The event sees schools, offices and other organisations host a Beanie Day during the week of 4 – 8 June, selling beanies and putting on other fundraising activities to help raise money.

A number of the region’s Catholic schools got on board this year, with some even getting a visit from Mark Hughes himself.


St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar

For a school community that has been personally impacted by brain cancer, this year’s Beanie Day was not only an opportunity to raise some much-needed funds but also a time for staff and students to come together and support one another through a tough time.

Mark visited St Joseph’s last week and spoke at the college assembly about the aims of the foundation and his overwhelming appreciation for the college’s support.

Selling over 500 beanies, the college managed to raise over $8,000 for the Foundation.

A big thank you goes out to Mark for taking time to visit the college and speak to students, as well as to Mrs McCormack and Mrs Matthews who were the driving force behind the fundraiser.


All Saint’s College, Maitland

Mark Hughes returned to his former stomping ground as part of the college’s Beanie Day fundraising efforts.

Mark spoke to students at both St Mary’s and St Peter’s campuses, helping to raise awareness of the insidious disease and the good work of the foundation. He also took the time to remind students about the importance of being present and remaining positive in both the short and the long term.

Special mention must be made of Mrs Cathy Crawford from St Mary’s Campus who shaved her head to help raise additional funds for the cause.

A thank you goes out to all the staff and students who generously donated to the cause – and to Mrs Cornwall and Mrs Kennedy who facilitated and organised the fundraiser on each Campus.


St Paul’s Catholic College, Booragul

As part of their annual ‘True Colours’ Day, the St Paul’s school community came together to help raise money for this worthy cause.

The school’s yearly event sees students wear their favourite football or sports team jumper to school to help raise money for cancer charities.

Along with a fundraising BBQ lunch, the college’s Youth Vinnies group organised a cake stall that had a variety of colourful and delicious creations for sale.

Another important tradition of the day is the presentation of the Sunshine Award in memory of St Paul’s student, Jacqui Chatburn.

The Sunshine Award is presented to a Year 12 student who is a light to others, with the winner chosen by the Year 12 students themselves.

This year’s recipient was Matilda Shrume, a member of the Student Representative Council who brings energy, enthusiasm and friendship to her community.

The college managed to raise over $1,500 on the day, which will be donated to both the Hunter Melanoma Foundation and the Mark Hughes Foundation.

“I’m very proud of the students who put so much work into the day,” said the Youth Vinnies Coordinator, Ms Fran Heard.

“They’ve shown that they are willing to use their energy and talents to help others.”