The Monash University Leader of the Month for July has been revealed – this month awarded to St Pauls McKinnon JFC player Caitlin Tampion.
Caitlin, 15, was recognised for her achievements in fundraising for the World’s Greatest Shave, which works in conjunction with the Leukaemia Foundation to raise money for research and assistance for those affected by the disease.
Caitlin said she was inspired to start her fundraising campaign by those around her who have suffered from the disease.
“I’ve been trying to spread awareness about it. A few of my mum’s friends have had Leukaemia so I’ve seen how its impacted others and wanted to raise awareness about it,” she said.
Leukaemia is a form of aggressive cancer found in blood-forming cells. Both adults and children are affected by Leukaemia, with the disease often causing other complications, significantly lowering the quality of life for those suffering.
There are more than 110,000 people living with blood cancer or related blood disorders in Australia today, with 41 people diagnosed every day.
Caitlin committed to the World’s Greatest Shave earlier this year, pledging to shave off her hair and setting an initial fundraising goal of $300.
“I really wanted to cut my hair, and I thought I could do some sort of fundraising instead of just doing it for myself… I could help out other people,” said Caitlin.
“I’d heard quite a few people do it, and one of my cousins did it as well, so I thought ‘why not give it a shot?’”
Caitlin seen before and after the big shave
Eventually, Caitlin surpassed her initial goal to reach $3,000 – an impressive feat given her initial goal and the ongoing pandemic.
Caitlin said she was thankful for the support of the St Pauls McKinnon JFC community, who helped spread the word of her campaign and donated to the campaign.
Caitlin was nominated for the Monash University Leader of the Month Award by St Pauls McKinnon JFC Club President Paul Smith.
“Caitlin’s contribution to the league as a leader to educate and continue to the welfare of others are seen as attributes that any parent, coach or ambassador should be proud of,” said Mr Smith.
“Caitlin was able to educate many of the teams, club members and families on the challenges that cancer patients face,” he said.
Caitlin said she had always had long hair and, although the big shave was “intimidating”, her hair has since been “a lot easier” to manage.
“The best part was seeing other peoples’ reactions,” said Caitlin. “[They were] shocked.”
Caitlin would have been in her second year at St Pauls McKinnon in 2020
She said she hoped that others commit to the shave and help in the fight against Leukaemia.
“It would be pretty cool if other people joined in.”
Caitlin said she believes a Monash Leader always does their best and has good morals.
The South Metro Junior Football League and Monash University congratulate Caitlin on her fundraising efforts and leadership within the community.
If you would like to nominate someone at your club for the Monash University Leadership Award, you can do so here. Nominees must be under 18 years of age and be currently involved with an SMJFL club or the league.