Volunteers are the heart and soul of AFL community clubs across the state, with their contributions normally going unnoticed each season.
At Broadbeach, there’s a particular person who’s made an extraordinary impact.
“I have been fighting bowel cancer for over 18 months and I can’t continue to fight it for ever. So in true Kelly style I am having a LIVING Funeral. If my friends and family are going to turn up to celebrate my life I am sure as hell going to be there.”
Kelly Hardy, Broadbeach Cats Junior Girls Coordinator, hosted her own “living funeral” last weekend, with all junior and youth girls games played at home. This weekend, it’s the club’s turn to give back.
Kelly arrived at the Cats in early 2019. At the time the club had one under 17 girl’s team. Within two years and with Kelly’s dedication, the club has grown to seven girls’ teams across junior and youth competitions.
Broadbeach Juniors President, Jason Cunningham, said Kelly had been instrumental in the growth of female football at the Gold Coast club.
“We all know female football has grown organically over the past few years, but I have no doubt Kelly’s passion for girls footy has contributed to the significant growth at Broadbeach,” he said.
“As a club it’s important for us to have people like Kelly who the girls feel safe with and has their best interest at heart.”
Sadly, in 2019 Kelly was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer and has recently been told by doctors her disease is now terminal.
“The first thing Kelly said to me when she got the news was that she didn’t want to stop being involved in the club, she will always be a valuable member of our committee,” said Mr Cunningham.
“Never once has she said ‘why me’ or ‘this isn’t fair’, it’s honestly a true testament to the positive women Kelly is.”
A devoted fan and Gold Coast SUNS member, Kelly has never missed a home game planning her treatments around their fixture.
Cunningham said Kelly was a volunteer every club dreamt of having.
“She pours her time and energy into creating a healthy female AFL community. Both her for daughters umpire and play for Broadbeach in the under 13 and 15’s competition, and her legacy will live on in them,” he said.
On Monday, May 3rd the Broadbeach Cats will be hosting a Club “FUNraiser” – to raise much needed funds for the Hardy Family while also bringing awareness to early detection measures.
“It’s a way for our club to give back to a lady who has given so much,” said Mr Cunningham.
“We hope the funds raised will make the first six months just that little bit easier for the Hardy family.”
They’re hoping to raise in excess of $100k.
Kelly says the next 12 months are about living every day to the full, making memories, watching her daughters grow up and continuing to be hands on at the Cats.
If you would like to make a donation towards Kelly’s fight against cancer, visit: https://broadbeachcatsjafc.com/2021/04/20/club-fun-raiser-for-the-hardy-family/