Record Breaking $4.1 million raised!

  • 22 June 2021


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The Big 3 Trekkers arrive at McDonald Jones Stadium

Australians have hit back at Brain Cancer with a record-breaking $4.1 million raised across NRL Beanie for Brain Cancer Round this week for the Mark Hughes Foundation.

This year’s campaign urged fans to buy an MHF Beanie online or at Lowes and selected IGA stores, or donate with the aim of raising $3 million for research.

MHF Founder, Mark Hughes, said “Every year the rugby league community digs deep but this result is truly incredible. From the 28 people who trekked 150km from Sydney to Newcastle, the $1 million donated by McCloy Family Foundation, the NRL and to every single person who bought a beanie and held a fundraiser big and small– thank you!” 

“Behind the scenes there is so many people who give so much to make this round happen. I would like to acknowledge the NRL, Nine, Fox League and all the media for coming together for our cause and making the message reach so many Australians. Everyone comes together to make this such a special round.”

“With what has been raised in the last five years we are now in a position to put the best brain cancer research and support team in the world together, here in Newcastle, and this is helping us change the outcome for future patients diagnosed. We are truly humbled and overwhelmed with gratitude.”

NRL CEO, Andrew Abdo, added ““To raise $4.1 million and sell 160,000 beanies is an outstanding result for the Mark Hughes Foundation. This highlights the power of the rugby league community, in particular our fans, who have been so generous this weekend,’’ he said. 

“I often say rugby league brings people together and Beanie for Brain Cancer Round is a fine example of that. One of the best things about working in our game is making a positive contribution to the community and I’m proud our sport has played a role in ensuring over $4 million will go towards Brain Cancer research.

“To our clubs, players, broadcasters and most of all our fans, who have shown their support and bought beanies - we should all be extremely proud of our collective ability to unite for a common cause. I also want to pay tribute to the McCloy Family Foundation for their remarkable act of generosity.

“I especially want to acknowledge Mark Hughes. He was a champion player on the field and has overcome adversity to become a community leader off the field. His ongoing leadership with the Mark Hughes Foundation will have a lasting impact on so many people.”

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McCloy Family Foundation CEO, Hayley Van de Stadt

A special announcement at the Knights v Warriors game Saturday afternoon saw the newly formed McCloy Family Foundation pledge an incredible $1 million donation towards the recently announced MHF research commitment to the University of Newcastle. Click here for more information on research announcement

McCloy Family Foundation CEO, Hayley Van de Stadt, said “The positive impact Mark, Kirralee and the MHF team have had on a local and national level is both remarkable and inspirational. A cure for Brain Cancer is a steep mountain to climb so we hope our $1 million donation from the McCloy Family Foundation provides a big leap forward to fund lifesaving research with Newcastle University.” 

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The McCloy Family Foundation pledge an incredible $1 million donation

160,000 MHF Beanie’s sold during the Beanie for Brain Cancer campaign.

Sportsbet donated $64,000 after 64 tries were scored in Round 15 ($1000 per try) at halftime of the final game of the round, and $50,000 for the original Clive Churchill test jersey.

Brain Cancer statistics

• Survival rates have increased by 1% over the last 30 years
• Kills more children than any other disease
• Only 2/10 people diagnosed will live more than 5 years
• Kills more people under 40 than any other cancer
• Receives less than 5% of federal funding for cancer research
• One person every 5 hours is diagnosed in Australia


2021 is the fifth NRL Beanie for Brain Cancer Round since it began in 2017. The officially themed NRL round was the idea of Matt Callander, who was working at Nine and bravely battled stage 4 Glioblastoma himself. He sadly lost his battle with brain cancer in October 2017.
The Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF) is a charity formed in Newcastle by Mark and Kirralee Hughes following Mark’s diagnosis with Brain Cancer in 2013. The Mark Hughes Foundation’s mission is to raise much needed funds for research, to create awareness and support brain cancer patients and their families.