2023 Tom Hafey Heart of Football Finalists Announced

September 26, 2023 by Variety - the Children's Charity

Variety – the Children’s Charity Victoria is thrilled to announce the finalists for the prestigious 2023 Tom Hafey Heart of Football Award. This highly anticipated award, presented in honour of the late AFL legend and Variety supporter Tom Hafey, recognises AFL and AFLW players who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and selflessness in their commitment to children.

The winner of the 2023 Tom Hafey Variety Heart of Football Award will be presented by Maureen Hafey OAM at the Variety Toyota AFL Grand Final Lunch on 27 September, 2023. This annual event has been kicking goals for kids in need for over 30 years, by raising money to support kids who are living with disability, illness or are experiencing disadvantage.

The 2023 Tom Hafey Heart of Football Award finalists are:

  • Brodie McLaughlin (Gold Coast SUNS)
  • Darcy Vescio (Carlton Football Club)
  • Kate Darby (Geelong Football Club)
  • Travis Boak (Port Adelaide Football Club)

Brodie McLaughlin – Gold Coast SUNS
Brodie McLaughlin’s nomination stems from his outstanding volunteer work with Radio Lollipop, a volunteer organisation dedicated to providing care, comfort, and play to children in hospitals. Brodie’s unwavering commitment to this cause has left an indelible mark on the lives of countless children and their families. He consistently goes above and beyond to create a positive and enjoyable environment for young patients during their time in the hospital.

Darcy Vescio – Carlton Football Club
Darcy Vescio’s nomination recognises their leadership within the community as a positive role model. Darcy has been actively engaged in various community programs, including the #StrongGirlsWIP program for young girls, mentoring culturally and linguistically diverse children, and advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community through Pride Games and other initiatives. Darcy’s work not only inspires young footballers but also empowers children to embrace their individuality and find a place in the world of sports.

Kate Darby – Geelong Cats
Kate Darby’s nomination acknowledges her exceptional commitment to the community, particularly in empowering children. Beyond her role as an AFLW player, Kate serves as a GMHBA Healthy Heroes facilitator, promoting healthy choices among children. She is also a proud ambassador for inclusion and empowerment, fostering connections with diverse demographics. Kate’s involvement in various initiatives, including IDAHOBIT Football Clinic and Special Schools Gala Day, demonstrates her dedication to making sports accessible to all children.

Travis Boak – Port Adelaide Football Club
Travis Boak’s nomination highlights his 14-year Ambassadorship with the Childhood Cancer Association (CCA). Through regular visits to the Michael Rice Centre for Haematology and Oncology, Travis provides support, inspiration, and joy to children facing the challenges of cancer. His personal experience with loss due to cancer has fuelled his passion to make a difference. Travis’s advocacy and fundraising efforts have significantly benefited the CCA, creating opportunities for children to become Port Adelaide’s “Captain for a Day” and experience the thrill of game day.

These remarkable individuals follow in the footsteps of past winners who have also left a legacy of dedication to children. Past recipients of the Tom Hafey Variety Heart of Football Award include 2022 winner Emma Kearney, as well as Scott Selwood, Robert Harvey, and Eddie Betts, who were each recognised for their outstanding contributions to improving the lives of children and young people.

Variety – the Children’s Charity Victoria commends the dedication of all the finalists and eagerly anticipates announcing the 2023 Tom Hafey Heart of Football Award winner at the Variety Toyota AFL Grand Final Lunch on 27 September, 2023.

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