Highett JFC’s Lucas McGrath and Sam Raskin have been recognised as the joint Monash Leaders of the Month for April 2020.
Lucas and Sam, both aged 11, pledged to run 10km to fundraise for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
The boys created a GoFundMe page, spoke at school assemblies, placed collection boxes in classrooms and lobbied for donations from club members and local residents to gain support for their upcoming 10km challenge.
Sam said he and Lucas were inspired to begin their long fundraising campaign after they discussed their families’ connection to Type-1 diabetes.
“Originally, I was going to fundraise for something else, and then Luke wanted to join and we had a discussion about it,” said Sam.
Both boys have young family members living with Type-1 diabetes, and have seen first-hand the impact this condition can have.
“People in both of our families have diabetes, so we decided to do it for that,” said Sam.
Type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas stops producing insulin, an essential hormone needed for the body to turn food into energy.
After an extensive fundraising campaign, the boys surpassed their initial goal of $1,000, and soared to a final total of $2,700.
On top of fundraising, the boys continued to train for the 10km challenge by building up their distance from 3km.
“We were training about two or three times a week,” said Lucas.
After months of training, Sam and Lucas completed the run on Friday 29 November at the Edithvale-Aspendale Wetlands Trail against challenging weather conditions.
“It was really cold and wet and windy,” said Sam.
“It was good running conditions, because it would cool us down,” said Lucas.
The boys completed the run with a big support crowd waiting at the finish line.
“We got our teacher to come down, and a couple of our friends and family came,” said Sam.
During the challenge, the boys said they were ‘hungry’ to get to the finish line.
“If I’m honest, I was thinking about spaghetti for some reason,” said Sam.
“I was just thinking about my Powerade,” said Lucas.
Highett JFC President, Jason McGrath, said the entire club was incredibly proud of Lucas and Sam.
“We’re all super proud of them at the club. For a couple of ten-year-olds at the time to take it upon themselves to try and make a change to other young people’s lives is fantastic.”
Jason said Lucas and Sam both showed clear qualities of leadership throughout their campaign.
“They really put a lot of effort into raising as much funding as they could … I think they have set really high role model standards within their school and their football club.”
Both Lucas and Sam said they hope their fundraising efforts will go towards “better medicine” and “equipment to help with the illness”.
The South Metro Junior Football League and Monash University congratulate Lucas and Sam on their achievements in supporting Type-1 diabetes research.
If you would like to nominate someone at your club for the Monash 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.