Players From Both Codes Do Battle For A Choice Cause

Posted at 11:19 2009-10-02
Earlier this week at the SKYCITY casino in Auckland, five Auckland Rugby players and five players from the New Zealand Warriors Rugby League team battled it out, not on the pitch of Dunedin, but on the poker table to raise some money for the very worthy Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.
The SKYCITY Blue September Challenge of the Codes poker tournament was held at SKYCITY POKER in the SKYCITY Casino in Auckland with players and sponsors coming together. It was a fantastic opportunity to raise money for one of New Zealand’s most deserved charities. 
In these situations it is always nice to give the sponsors a free plug. The ones who participated in this worthy event were Auckland Rugby, the Vodafone Warriors, Vodafone, SKYCITY and The Coffee Club. 
The night was chock-a-block with speeches. Some of the luminaries who took the stage included Barry Young, the president of the Prostate Cancer foundation, prostate cancer survivor and New Zealand’s biggest poker player, Lee ‘Final Table’ Nelson and fellow prostate cancer survivor and head of Auckland Regional Council, Mike Lee.
However, sadly we could not have just speeches all night. Some poker had to be played! The battle between the two rugby codes was fiercely contested but in the end the Warriors came out on top defeating Auckland rugby by 110 points which coincidently is more than they won all of their games by in the NRL this season combined.
The winning player was crowd favourite Joe Vagana. He outlasted a field of 18 players to grab the trophy following an intense heads-up battle from the feared Auckland Rugby player Tom McCartney. Other players to take part in this inaugural event from Auckland Rugby included Paul Williams, Dean Budd, Charlie Faumunia and James Helleur. From the Warriors there was also Monty Betham, Sam Rapira, Evam Tuimavave and Awen Guttenbeil.
Through the SKYCITY Blue September Challenge of the Codes poker tournament and other fundraising initiatives at SKYCITY a whopping $11,500 was raised for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.
Well done to all involved! Please take the time to read a little bit about Blue September below.
Blue September
Each year, over 2,500 men in New Zealand are diagnosed with prostate cancer. A further 600 will die from the disease.  Prostate Cancer is a preventable disease. It is estimated that on average at least half of those annual deaths could have been avoided had the sufferers sought advice from a health professional in a timely manner. 
Prostate cancer can be cured if detected and treated early while still confined to the prostate gland. The tests for prostate cancer are the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test and the digital rectal examination (DRE). These tests do not give a conclusive diagnosis of cancer but can indicate the presence of prostate cancer. While prostate cancer is most common in men over the age of 50, younger men with a history of prostate cancer in their family are at greater risk.
Early (localised) prostate cancer is when the cancer has been found early enough that it hasn’t spread from the prostate. Early prostate cancer rarely causes symptoms.
Advanced Prostate cancer is when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body such as the bones and lymph nodes.
For more information and to make a donation to help fight this disease that is taking the lives of hundreds of fathers, brothers and sons see www.blueseptember.org


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