The state’s newly titled LGIAsuper Community Volunteer of the Year, and familiar face to many – Keely Johnson – will entertain the crowd at the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys home game against the Titans this Saturday night.
Keely, 19, has raised more than $500,000 for childhood cancer and in 2015 founded The Golden Octopus Foundation, all as she continues her personal battle against an incurable bone marrow tumour.
The local Ayr teenager was nominated for the Queensland Young Achiever Awards by her mother, Cathy, at the direct request of Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin, after Keely won the Young Citizen of the Year Award at this year’s Australia Day celebrations (Burdekin Shire).
“When Keely made it to the last three finalists [Queensland Young Achievers Awards] we honestly didn’t think she had a chance because the other two girls were just outstanding, so we were surprised when she was announced as the winner,” Cathy said.
“While she is still on a long road in terms of her health, she’s not worried about that and is very focused on everything she is doing for her foundation and helping children with cancer; we are so proud of her.”
Keely's tough health journey began when she was born with a condition that required two lifesaving brain surgeries by the time she was six.
This young woman has endured her illness with strength and has become the voice of children with cancer.
Having been involved with the Cowboys since 2014 in a host of roles aimed at supporting childhood cancer awareness, Keely will take to the field to perform the National Anthem, and her new song titled “Old Enough”, co-written by Townsville songwriter Peta Sherea Peters.
“When Keely was working on the song, Peta thought the message was in response to Keely being constantly asked if she was old enough to do certain things because she still looks so young [because of tumour], but the main message ended up being that young people can change the world – and our Keely is definitely having a big crack at that!” Cathy said.
Don’t miss all the exciting pre-game action at this Saturday’s home game, with tickets now on sale through Ticketek! Members receive 10% off single game tickets all season – sign up at cowboys.com.au/membership! (Maximum of four tickets per member, per game.)