The AJ Diamond Club Bravery Awards has been a right of passage at the Fremantle Dockers for the past 27 years.
Since Fremantle’s first year in the AFL in 1995, the Club’s youngest players have acknowledged the bravest young patients in the Southern Metropolitan Health Service, which includes Fiona Stanley and Rockingham Hospital.
This year, 10 brave kids were given their medals by the likes of AFLW players Aine Tighe, Airlie Runnalls and Jess Low and AFL players Nathan O’Driscoll, Josh Treacy, Joel Western, Heath Chapman and Brandon Walker.
This year’s award winners were Kole Davidson (3), Kayci Ogg (6), Roger Lawson (7), Isaac Saunders (7), Rylee Ellis (12), Shaelea Taylor (12), Summer Burgess (12), Amit Gilbert (14), Adam Csontos (15) and Mitchell Dhue (15).
Both Western and Runnalls spoke to the media about what the day meant to them.
“It was so good! To hear all the inspirational stories and to see what some of those kids have been through, it just really puts into perspective all the things in our lives, a lot of our challenges don’t matter as much compared to what they’ve been through,” Runnalls said.
Western and his AFL teammates attended the awards after toiling all morning in the heat at a session at Fremantle Oval.
“It’s been a big day for all of us boys. We had a big training session in the heat at Fremantle Oval which was pretty tough. But once we got here, it was great to get involved with the Bravery Awards and meet some really great kids who have gone through some really brave acts in the past 12 months. I don’t know how I would have handled going through that when I was their age,” Western said.
“They show me how to be resilient when adversity comes – so for any minor setbacks in my career, the message from these kids is to keep pushing through it and be brave. These kids have had it tough and tougher than most, so it’s about being grateful for every battle that I go though as a football player.”