07 Oct 2020 | Industry news |

Jarrod needs your help

by Contributor

Jarrod Lyle Briony Lyle_image doing it for jarrod
Doing it for Jarrod_banner

The name you likely know; the cause might even be familiar.

But that you and your club can help the #DoingItForJarrod campaign so substantially yet so easily is something that might have escaped you.

BRIONY LYLE, wife of the late but still vastly popular Jarrod, continues the family’s work with Challenge. And there’s nobody better to explain than her …

In 2019, with the help of Golf Australia, the PGA of Australia and our good friends at Titleist, we launched the inaugural #DoingItForJarrod campaign.

It was borne of the desire to harness and co-ordinate the organic fundraising that took place in the weeks and months following Jarrod’s death in August 2018.

Outside his family, Jarrod had two main passions – golf and Challenge. For some professional athletes and others with media profiles, lending their name and their face to a worthy cause can be something very rewarding and fulfilling.

But Jarrod’s relationship to Challenge was so much more than something to make him feel good.

Since his first time as a patient way back in 1999, Jarrod had been incredibly passionate about doing everything he could to help raise funds for Challenge because he had a true understanding of the amount of support required to help a family navigate a cancer diagnosis.

There were many times throughout Jarrod’s subsequent treatments and trips to hospital that we faced some really tough conversations and decisions. More often than not, those discussions would be followed by one of us asking the other: “Can you imagine if we had to have that conversation about our sick child?”

If ever there was a silver lining to our experiences, it was that Jarrod was a capable, independent adult who was able to engage with the medical team, ask questions, do research and make his own decisions about his treatment.

The thought that there are so many parents having to do all of those things on behalf of their infant or young child would have been more upsetting to us than “just” doing it for him. Being parents ourselves, with two beautiful young girls, we came to appreciate the enormity of the situation facing parents when a child is given a cancer diagnosis.

Shop the awesome range of Leuk The Duck merchandise now!

It was incredibly humbling to see the amount of support my family and Challenge received from the Australian golf industry when Jarrod died.

One thing that became clear was that the cause Jarrod had supported and championed for so many years had become a cause important to so many others.

It also seemed ironic – and incredibly sad – that Jarrod’s goal of doing more for Challenge had finally been achieved, but he was no longer here to witness it.

As 2019 began, I started receiving enquiries from several people all asking a similar question: “What now?”

It became clear that we had an opportunity to create a co-ordinated fundraising effort in Jarrod’s name that would ensure his life and experiences would not be in vain.

To this day, I still don’t fully understand the game of golf, but one thing I realised many years ago was that a lot of work is required behind the scenes to organise a fundraising golf day.

I knew it would be far too great a task to ask golf clubs to organise an annual golf day in memory of Jarrod, but one thing we could ask was for members to get out on their own course and play a round.

It was what Jarrod loved to do, and it’s what hundreds of thousands of people around Australia also love to do.

So that’s how #DoingItForJarrod began – in response to questions about what to do in Jarrod’s memory, we decided to ask everyone to play golf.

Simple as that.

And to wear yellow, if you want to. And to donate a gold coin, if you want to. It really is that easy, and the collective results have been astounding.

Learn more about #DoingItForJarrod via Challenge.

In last year’s inaugural campaign, there were more than 200 clubs that registered and together we raised almost $200,000. That money is already set aside to go towards our first major “Jarrod’s Gift” project: the further development of educational resources that help to explain cancer and how various treatments work.

Since 1990, Mark Knight – the renowned cartoonist and co-creator of Leuk the Duck – has drawn hundreds of different images of Leuk that have been used by the Challenge family to help educate kids about different types of cancer. Throughout Jarrod’s own cancer treatments, he often said he learned far more from Mark’s illustrations and explanations than he ever did from his medical team!

Our goal is to combine all of those images and cartoons, along with many new illustrations, into special books to help educate children and try to answer all those difficult questions that arise with a cancer diagnosis.

The books and resources are not only intended for use by children who have received their own diagnosis, but also for their siblings, extended family, close friends and school mates. It’s also for all those children who have a parent, friend or relative with cancer.

In the same way that Jarrod’s life was able to reach and inspire people of all ages and from all walks of life, we hope that, once published, these resources will become invaluable for people across Australia and around the world. They will be the ultimate “gift” from Jarrod and will help strengthen the legacy that he leaves.

To help promote the inaugural #DoingItForJarrod campaign, we enlisted the help of several high-profile PGA Tour players, including none other than Jack Nicklaus himself.

The time given by those players was invaluable and truly appreciated, but the reality is that we don’t need those people in order for the campaign to be a success – we need YOU.

We need members from golf clubs across Australia to get on board. A simple gold coin donation from each and every one of you, while you play the game that you enjoy so much, is all we need to ensure that Jarrod’s legacy lives on.

It is our intention for #DoingItForJarrod to become an annual event at golf clubs in every corner of the country.

With the ongoing support offered by GA, the PGA and Titleist, we hope the campaign can become bigger and better every year – and that golf clubs around Australia will include the campaign as a permanent fixture on their calendar.

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