AMILY RIVALRY: An injured Steve Jolliffe, with daughter Ivy, eight months, won't compete against partner Olivia Aughton at the Dance for Cancer.

Wodonga Raiders footballer's cancer battle motivates him for Stars of the Border, Dance for Cancer

BORDER footballer Steve Jolliffe understands better than most the importance of fighting cancer through fundraising.

“I owe my whole life to obviously the doctors, the nurses and everyone involved with helping people with cancer,” he said. “I’ve got a beautiful daughter now and a beautiful partner and I’m pretty much grateful.”

Given his own battle against testicular cancer three years ago, Mr Jolliffe was keen to join the Stars of the Border Dance for Cancer gala night on June 2 to support Cancer Council NSW.

Now in its fourth year, the event pairs Albury-Wodonga identities with professional dancers. The couples then learn a routine in eight weeks and raise a minimum of $2500. 

Unfortunately Mr Jolliffe’s dancing days ended before they began owing to an ill-timed ankle injury playing with Wodonga Raiders.

But he plans to continue fundraising and attend the night, particularly as his partner Olivia Aughton is also dancing, representing Albury Tigers Football Netball Club.

And probably his present injury doesn’t compare to the surgery and eight months of treatment that followed his unexpected cancer diagnosis in 2014.

“I was only 21 at the time, single, playing football, enjoying life,” Mr Jolliffe said.

“I was lucky enough that it flared up, to be honest, a lot of people don’t even know and then it becomes too late to do anything about it.”

The side effects of chemotherapy left him unable to work for nearly a year.

“You get tired … can’t eat – well, you can eat but whenever you eat, it pretty much comes back up,” he said.

“Depression, anxiety, everything sort of hits you all at once. It takes a long time to get back, but if you have the right people helping you through, you can come a long way.”

Mr Jolliffe is sorry he won’t be taking the dance floor at Albury Entertainment Centre.

“I would have been nervous on the night, but I was looking forward to it, it would have been good fun,” he said.

And now we’ll never know whether the footballer could have surpassed his partner.

“Liv’s lucky, just put it that way,” he said, smiling. “Lucky I’m not dancing against her, I would have taken it home, I reckon.”

Dance for Cancer tickets go on sale Monday and are available at Albury Entertainment Centre online or in person or on (02) 6043 5610.


Article courtesy of the Border Mail

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