SAM DOCHERTY has won the 2023 Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award for his work raising funds for cancer research. 

Docherty, the former Carlton skipper who has recovered twice from testicular cancer, has raised $220,000 for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation, and now acts as an observer on the board of the Peter Mac Cancer Foundation.

He has raised awareness for cancer testing and detection, and also supports the Paws4Kids program run through MacKillop Family Services, which support vulnerable children getting back into the classroom through the support of therapy dogs.


Fremantle’s Bailey Banfield, Melbourne’s Ben Brown and Sydney’s Harry Cunningham were all finalists for the award and recognised on the night for their significant contribution to the community and their nominated charities.

AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said Docherty epitomised the essence of the award.

"Sam should be incredibly proud of this achievement, and I’d like to congratulate him on the tremendous support and advocacy he’s provided for patients, families and everyone in the community who has been impacted by cancer,” McLachlan said.

"The way Sam has been able to use his own personal experience to give hope, inspiration and raise an enormous amount of funds for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation and other charities is a testament to his character."

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Carlton CEO Brian Cook praised Docherty for his passion to help others.

"Sam is such a selfless and generous person who gives everything to everyone. The way he plays the game is a true reflection of his character – courageous with spirit and heart – and this shines through off the field too,” Cook said.

"He’s always willing to help and we couldn’t be prouder of what he’s been able to achieve in the community and the positive impact he’s had on so many people. He truly wants to make a difference and we feel very lucky to have Sam at our club."

Proudly supported by Telstra and the Jim Stynes Foundation, Docherty will receive $40,000 which will be donated to the charity or community program of his choice.

Past winners include Geelong Cats’ Joel Selwood (2022), Port Adelaide’s Travis Boak (2021), Richmond’s Bachar Houli (2020), GWS GIANTS’ Stephen Coniglio (2019), Melbourne's Neville Jetta (2018), Port Adelaide's Jack Hombsch (2017), Geelong Cats’ Jimmy Bartel (2016), Carlton's Dennis Armfield (2015), West Coast Eagles' Beau Waters (2014), Gold Coast Suns' Zac Smith (2013) and Richmond's Daniel Jackson (2012).