Courtesy of the Newcastle Herald
First came the rucks, the mauls, the scrums, the tackles and the fierce contests between the best in the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union premier competition. Then, last year, came the diagnosis of an opponent’s daughter with a brain stem cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).
Now, this weekend comes the teaming up of footy rivals for a fundraising effort on the triathlon course.
Former Maitland Blacks captain and Australian Ironman finisher Luke Cunningham will lead the Run DIPG charity crew at the Big Husky Triathlon Festival on the NSW south coast on Sunday.
Cunningham and fellow past and present Maitland players Ryan Vesper, Joseph Lavis, Adam McCarthy and the McCormack brothers, Ryan and Josh, will all be ditching the boots and donning a different type of sporting uniform to help out University’s Matt Dun.
Dun, himself a medical researcher, has a three-year-old girl Josephine with DIPG.
“All of us have played rugby with and against Matt at Maitland and University. So everyone around the rugby community knows Mat was a good player, but a better bloke,” Cunningham said. “But the main thing was, most of us have kids now too. It really hit home.
“If we could help out in any way, whether that was a triathlon or whatever else, to help fundraising for more research than we were more than happy to.”
He has “issued a challenge” for other rugby clubs to donate via the gofundme website. As of Thursday, the amount was $4760.
Run DIPG will also be represented at the Australian Running Festival in Canberra in April (13-14).