Tori's diagnosis continues to inspire a wave of support
FIVE years ago Victoria Evans' birth and diagnosis gave the Rockhampton Panthers Australian Football Club purpose beyond the playing field.
Shortly after Victoria was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, her dad Clinton Evans' football team rallied behind his family to create awareness and raise money to help fight the condition.
Clinton said while the club adopted the cause in honour of Victoria, their motivations now span much larger.
"I think people find it easier to relate to because they know Tori, but it's about helping everyone diagnosed,” Clinton said.
Cystic Fibrosis primarily affects the lungs and digestive system because of a malfunction in the exocrine system that's responsible for producing saliva, sweat, tears and mucus.
In Australia, one in 2,500 babies are born with CF, which equates to one every four days.
The club has championed the cause for five years by holding an annual games day but this year they added one more event to the calender - the Cystic Fibrosis Gala Ball.
Held on July 20, the ball followed the annual charity match between the Panthers and the Glenmore Bulls.
Crowds travelled from as far as Brisbane to support the cause, which raised more than $11,000 across the weekend - the figure doubled the 2018 total.
Australian cricketer Jemma Barsby was the guest speaker on the night where she addressed the crowds from her own experience of living with Multiple Sclerosis.
Clinton said listening to Jemma was inspiration for Tori.
"Jemma doesn't let her MS hold her back in life and stop her from chasing her dreams and that's exactly what I want for my daughter,” she said.
Tori didn't attend the night but she was their in the minds of her dearest, her dad and older sister Maya.
To follow tradition, two players from the charity matches were awarded with medals for displaying the traits of someone living with CF.
This year Panthers players Aleisha Mills and Joe McGahan received the award.
Clinton said they were chosen for showing courage and determination - two traits someone with diagnosed with CF has to display.
"Aleisha played on opponents much larger than her and never gave up,” he said.
Joe was credited for his high work rate.
"It's about that never give up attitude,” Clinton said.
While the Panthers jerseys were auctioned for charity this year, Glenmore will donate their jerseys in 2020.