Premiership player and cancer survivor, Adam Ramanauskas, has helped launch the Club’s annual Clash for Cancer match against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

As part of the Club’s partnership with children’s cancer charity, Challenge, 22 inspiring young children from Challenge enjoyed a kick with their favourite Essendon players at the Club, and on Saturday they will get to live their dreams when they run out with the team.

Ramanauskas said the partnership with Challenge was a wonderful initiative.

“For the Club to partner with Challenge and help make a difference in these brave young boys and girls lives is fantastic,” Ramanauskas said.

“Seeing the reaction on the children’s faces when they met their heroes today, as well as seeing the smiles on their parents’ faces, we can’t underestimate how important this is in lifting their spirits.

“The footy Club was incredible to me when I was going through my battle with cancer, and to see them continue to grow the Clash for Cancer legacy and now incorporate Challenge into the match is incredibly moving.”

Ramanauskas will be honoured as the Club’s Comeback Hero on Saturday, a role which will see him present the official match ball to the umpires before the opening bounce.

The Club will also proudly wear the Challenge logo on the front of their traditional Clash for Cancer Guernsey which features the famous yellow armband.

CEO, Xavier Campbell, said the Clash for Cancer was a powerful platform to raise vital funds and awareness.

“We extremely proud to partner with Challenge, and we are really happy we can play a small part in helping these brave children meet their sporting heroes,” Campbell said.

“We encourage the Essendon family to get along to the Clash for Cancer on Saturday, wear a splash of yellow and dig deep and help support the great work of Challenge.

“The Clash for Cancer not only celebrates Adam Ramanauskas’ brave battle to beat cancer, but it’s a great opportunity to raise vital awareness and funds for cancer research.”

Challenge CEO, David Rogers, said the charity delivers practical, personalised services to ensure that children and families living with cancer are well supported throughout their cancer journey.

“Challenge is extremely proud to be partnering with the Essendon Football Club, our values are very similar as we respect everyone involved in our program and we strive to be consistent in the delivery of our services,” Rogers said.

“The relationship with the Essendon Football club has grown over a 20 year period and we are excited about Saturday’s Clash for Cancer.

“The 22 young people walking out with the players are inspirational in their own right. They look to their heroes for encouragement to stay strong. An opportunity like this has a significant impact on these young people and their families.”

Fans are encouraged to wear a splash of yellow, like the players, to the game to show their support to those affected by cancer.

For more information on Challenge, click here.