Mark and Mariana Rudan share their brain cancer story

Mark and Mariana knew little about brain cancer until their mother, Ana, was diagnosed with the disease in September 2017.

Mariana, an acclaimed journalist and panelist on popular SBS program The World Game, initially noticed that Ana was unable to remember basic information.

“We’d tell her about important events, and she’d call the next day saying, ‘How was the event?’ We’d say, ‘Mum, that event isn’t happening for at least six weeks’’ Mariana explained.

Soon after, Ana began to experience a decline in her mobility, including shuffling and instability which resulted in regular falls. A precautionary MRI highlighted a tumour in Ana’s brain. This discovery resulted in an emergency operation to remove the tumour, with the mass preventing water flow to the brain.

“That’s when we started learning more about brain cancer, and the types of brain cancers out there” explained Mark, a former Hyundai A-League Championship-winning captain with Sydney FC.

The lack of funding and awareness of brain cancer in Australia truly shocked Mark and Mariana, particularly the grim five-year survival rate of just 20 per cent. This was a driving behind why the siblings set up the inaugural ‘Kick it for Brain Cancer’ round, which will take place throughout round 26 of the Hyundai A-League season from 6-8 April 2018.

Fans will be able to support the initiative at each of the five fixtures by purchasing a ‘Kick it for Brain Cancer’ bandana and contributing to bucket collections at each stadium, with the hope of raising $1 million for vital brain cancer research, advocacy and awareness.

Mark and Mariana are hopeful that ‘Kick it for Brain Cancer’ will become an annual event, where the football and brain cancer community can come together.

“If we can get this message out there, and really get some awareness about this horrific disease… there are so many people who have passed away because of it or are going through the same situation as what we are” Mark said.

Tickets for each fixture in ‘Kick it for Brain Cancer’ round are currently on sale. So, wear your colours, buy a bandana, dig deep and support the game we love.