Clarendon has been a proud supporter of Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) for 15 years, which is a significant milestone for the school and, in particular, the Senior Girls Football Team. Since 2006, Clarendon has hosted an annual ‘Players for Pink’ football match against Loreto College to culminate their season.
In the year prior to the establishment of ‘Players for Pink’, school nurse, Jenny Poppe, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Subsequently, senior boarding students were determined to raise awareness and funds for BCNA.
This year, despite the cancellation of the annual ‘Players for Pink’ football match due to COVID-19, the Senior Girls Football Team hosted a virtual celebration in honour of their annual ‘Players for Pink’ campaign. The celebration featured presentations from current Clarendon mothers facing breast cancer, as well as musical performances from current students and Old Collegians.
During the week of raising funds for the cause, the Senior Girls Football Team were also treated to reflections from Old Collegians and past staff, discussing what BCNA and ‘Players for Pink’ means to them.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 whilst working as the school nurse at Clarendon,” said Jenny Poppe. “What followed in the next 10 years as the first aid nurse and trainer for the Senior Girls Football Team holds amazing memories for me. Players for Pink is not only a game. It is about raising much needed money to continue funding research for BCNA and women with breast cancer.”
“I will never forget the sense of purpose and pride that came with playing the game we love for those around us suffering from cancer, including our beloved Jenny ‘Henry’ Poppe,” said Old Collegian, Alexandra Hamlyn (2011). Almost ten years on, Alexandra still wears her ‘Players for Pink’ long-sleeve shirt with love.
“The incredible people, life lessons, camaraderie and, of course, the group of individuals that started the ‘Players for Pink’ match for BCNA flood my memories,” said Old Collegian, Georgia Gill (2006). “I have always believed it to be fitting that it is the Ballarat Clarendon College Senior Girls Football side that carries the responsibility and honour of playing the annual football match to raise awareness and support for BCNA.”
For Old Collegian, Lotti Dyer (2012), the 2020 ‘Players for Pink’ campaign was particularly significant. “This year my own mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and I have a deeply personal understanding of how important the work of BCNA is,” said Lotti. “I’m so glad I had the opportunity to participate in the ‘Players for Pink’ match during my time at Clarendon, now more than ever.”
This year, the Clarendon community raised a record amount of $1,800 for BCNA. This amount is astounding, considering students and staff were learning remotely. Thank you to all of the current students, Old Collegians, staff and families who donated to the cause. Thank you also to Senior Girls Football coach, James Couzens, who has passionately campaigned for BCNA for the last 15 years. James has coached the Senior Girls Football Team for over 20 years and has proved a devoted mentor to students with his undeniable support for women’s sport.