RAISING AWARENESS: Maya, Victoria and Clinton Evans ahead of the annual charity event.
RAISING AWARENESS: Maya, Victoria and Clinton Evans ahead of the annual charity event.

Rival football clubs unite to help a young girl's diagnosis

BEFORE Clinton Evans became a father to his second daughter Victoria, Cystic Fibrosis was barely in his vocabulary, but for the past five years the condition has been in his consciousness every day.

Tori was diagnosed with the condition shortly after birth and since then the Evans family and their friends have worked to create awareness for the disease.

Next month will be the fifth anniversary of the Cystic Fibrosis Games Day, where the Rockhampton Panthers Australian Football Club take on Glenmore Bulls AFC in a charity match.

But this year, the charity event will have a new addition with the inaugural Cystic Fibrosis Gala Ball following the day of sport.

While Tori might be too young to realise the affect she's having on the local football community, all efforts made were extremely heartening for her dad.

"One of the things I've learn from Victoria being diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis is people are amazing,” Clinton said.

As a life member of the Panthers club, he said watching Cystic Fibrosis become close to the club's heart was incredible, but the way their competitor the Bulls had also adopted the cause was beyond belief.

"It just shows that people can come together and support a greater cause,” he said.

Cystic Fibrosis affects the lungs and digestive system because of a malfunction in the exocrine system, which is responsible for producing saliva, sweat, tears and mucus.

In Australia, one in 2,500 babies are born with Cystic Fibrosis - that's one every four days.

Clinton said educating the community and creating awareness about the disease was also a vital part of fundraising.

There is no cure for Cystic Fibrosis, but Clinton hoped the football clubs' efforts could play a part in funding research and medical enhancements.

So far, their efforts have raised more than $20,000.

"I'd love to see my daughter live a long and healthy life,” he said.

Clinton said having a daughter with Cystic Fibrosis meant he needed to be more aware of her overall health, but every child had different quirks.

"The way I look at it every child has their own challenges and Tori's are just a little bit different to other peoples,” Clinton said.

"We just have to be more aware of what she's eating, we have to do physio and if she has a cough we are all over it.”

At every meal Tori takes medicine to help her digest food - each day she takes at least six tablets.

But that doesn't stop her from living life, while doctors warned Tori could lack energy, Clinton said often her older cousins wanted to rest when all she wanted to do was play.

Tori is also following in the footsteps of her dad and older sister Maya and learning to kick the footy.

In Tori's honour the men's and women's teams from the Panthers and Bulls will play on July 20, from 12.30pm at the Rockhampton Cricket Ground.

After the game, the Panther's jerseys will be auctioned and medals will be awarded to the best man and woman on the field who show the traits of bravery, linked to a patient with Cystic Fibrosis.

After the games day, Brisbane Heat WBBL Championship Player Jemma Barsby will be the guest speaker at the gala ball.

Jemma has Multiple Sclerosis and will share her journey balancing sport and her condition on the night.

Local band Maddi and the Hoopers will perform.



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