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Tackling Leukaemia's Rugby 10s competition is increasing the number of Indigenous, Pasifika donors on registry

Joseph Guenzler -

Following the success of the Tackling Leukaemia 10's in March, Rugby Victoria has confirmed the return of the TL 10's Competition as the primary pre-season event in Season 24.

Next year's prize money has been upped to $15,000 compared to $10,000 from 2023's competition.

Since its inception, Tackling Leukaemia has been achieving the monumental task of increasing the amount of Indigenous and Pasifika donors available on the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

Employing an efficient saliva swab strategy, free of needles, Tacking Leukaemia targets donors from the 18-35 age bracket in grassroots sporting clubs featuring high Indigenous and Pasifika populations.

The inaugural TL 10's competition earlier this year was a great success, after the organisation had kicked goals by registering 130 new donors to the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, more than double what they were anticipating.

This result effectively increased the amount of registered donors by at least 10 per cent.

TL President, Kevin Maloney said the initiative was highly successful.

"Our major activity for 2023 included the highly successful Tackling Leukaemia 10's Competition at the Box Hill Rugby Club," Mr Maloney said.

"This was a well attended event with excellent media coverage and attention."

The Tackling Leukaemia 10's Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, 16 March 2024, at the Box Hill Rugby Club.

The event will feature 24 male teams, with the possibility of including several female teams currently under consideration. All games will take place across three fields at Box Hill.

In 2023, Tackling Leukaemia faced challenges in its swabbing events due to two significant issues.

A delay in the release of funding for swab processing by the inter-governmental Clinical Advisory Board led to the inability to proceed with swabbing, despite high anticipation from potential donors and clubs.

Additionally, an initial proposed solution by the ABMDR involving the Australian Red Cross to expand their blood collection procedures for an additional sample proved unfeasible.

"One initiative that Tackling Leukaemia initially commenced to address the issue of funding for the swabbing program was the feasibility of fundraising with a view to paying for the processing of swabs ourselves," Mr Maloney said.

"However, with some success achieved for providing funding for processing the situation, unavailability of access for the new ABMDR digital platform meant that this initiative could not progress further.

"These circumstances beyond our control were extremely disappointing for both the Rugby Clubs that had expressed support for Operation Pasifika Engage program and the Tackling Leukaemia Committee."

Finding success through the TL 10's compeitition has been crucial for the organisation who now boasts a number of ambassadors including Alan Latu (Motivaitonal Speaker and sports coach), Neil Hay (Rugby Victoria President), and Associate Professor Nada Hamad (President, Bone Marrow Transplant Society of Australia)

"Tackling Leukaemia will continue to work with the ABMDR and achieve the

accreditation necessary for us to continue with both online and face to face

recruitment of donors," Mr Maloney said.

"Our plans for next year include the hosting of another Tackling Leukaemia 10's Tournament in March 2024 and possibly repeating this event in both South Queensland and Perth, Western Australia."

Teams are required to pay an entry fee of $300 per team, with payment details and comprehensive information set to be provided in the Tournament General Instruction, scheduled for email distribution in early February 2024.

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