When the Rutherglen Cats and Wahgunyah Lions go head-to-head on May 20, they will be bearing the names of hundreds of people who have been touched by cancer.
Specially-designed jerseys, featuring the Team Jacka logo, the names of people who have lived with cancer and the designated ribbons for each type of the disease and will be worn by players.
The jerseys will then be auctioned off that evening, with proceeds going to the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre.
Rutherglen Cats committee member Di Milthorpe, one of the many who have been working towards the day, said the idea had been in the making for a year.
“For the last seven years, Annette Meyer and I have held a high tea for breast cancer and that has raised $20,000,” she said.
“We were then talking to Karl and Cristy (Jacka) about a ladies breast cancer day that happens at Balranald (football club).
“We were thinking about having a jumper of some sort … then my husband Wayne came up with the idea of something covering all cancers.”
Mrs Milthorpe said there was room for about 170 more names on the jersey and anyone was invited to apply to include their loved one for a $20 donation.
“It’s just to recognise people and show they haven’t been forgotten … Karl said to us, ‘It’s not just about me, it’s a much bigger thing’,” she said.
Rutherglen Cats president Greg Lumby said supporter shirts featuring the ribbons were also available to purchase.
“Wahgunyah is our biggest clash for the year with the biggest crowd – I think it will raise a lot for the cancer centre,” he said.
“The boys all can’t wait to be part of it and wear the special jumper, being so close to Karl.
“Hopefully we get a nice day and really grow it; I would like to think it would be an ongoing thing from this year.”
Mrs Milthorpe said she had been overwhelmed by support for the event.
“The idea is to have both teams form a guard of honour for some of the family members of the people on the jumpers,” she said.
“I think it’s going to be a very emotional when they all run out.”
A cancer fundraiser high tea will be held from 11.30am before the event gets under way at Barkly Park.
Anyone who would like to submit a name to the cancer awareness jersey can do so at the Rutherglen Newsagency or via the Rutherglen Cats Facebook page.
You can also contact Hayley Kuschert on 045688832.