Ponting's link with cancer victim - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ponting's link with cancer victim

By John Coomber, Senior Sports Writer 01/02/2006 05:44:13 AM Comments (0)

Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting carries with him a silent memorial to a young cancer sufferer who died late last year.

Ponting met the boy through his work for the Children's Cancer Institute of Australia (CCIA), and can't bring himself to delete the boy's text messages from his mobile phone.

Ponting and his wife Rianna have raised more than $1 million for cancer research in the past four years and regularly visit the cancer ward at the Sydney Children's Hospital at Randwick.

They stay in touch with the children, and Ponting treasures his relationships with them.

"Whenever I can, I get around to the hospital," Ponting said.

"I've probably made half a dozen visits over the last couple of years. Some of the kids haven't made it unfortunately.

"I still keep some text messages in my phone from one of the young guys that passed away only a few months ago."

Ponting said the messages help him keep his perspective when things go wrong on the cricket field, or in his personal life, such as when his house was staked out by a photographer for the first few days of his rest time from the Australian team over the past week.

His association with the institute began four years ago when he had lunch with former Australian rugby captain Phil Kearns, who is on the board.

The Pontings were deeply affected by their first hospital visit. "We walked out and were sort of holding back tears really, and looked at each other and said we both felt we could do something to help."

Ponting has agreed to become an ambassador (along with actor Charlize Theron) for the Swiss luxury watch brand Raymond Weil, which is producing a limited edition watch with Ponting's signature engraved on the face.

A percentage of the proceeds from the $25,000 watches will go towards the cancer institute.

The company will also donate the entire proceeds from the sale of 100 clocks marking Ponting's 100th Test in Sydney last month, in which he scored centuries in both innings.

Ponting said he was pleased to be able to use his cricketing profile in aid of cancer research.

"You do walk out of [the hospital] realising how lucky you are to be fit and healthy for one, but to be able to represent the country and do what maybe those kids would have once aspired to do as well ... it saddens you a little bit but makes you more determined to do whatever you can to help."

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