Toby Greene has never grown a moustache before, but he will this month. And it is for a reason extremely close to his heart. The Greater Western Sydney superstar has launched a fundraiser for Movember in memory of his late cousin, Finley, who passed away last June. Movember is the leading charity changing the face of men's health by focusing on mental health, prostate and testicular cancer.
Greene grew up with Finley and was left devastated by the tragedy. When his mum delivered the horrific news to him one Monday in the middle of last season, he drove straight to Sydney airport in thongs and a t-shirt and boarded the first flight back to Melbourne. He then went directly from Tullamarine to his cousins’ house and broke down in the arms of his grandma. The memory still sends shivers down his spine. Despite being firmly in the spotlight as the Giants progressed to a historic maiden Grand Final appearance last September, Greene kept the deeply personal issue away from the public eye. But now the 27-year-old is speaking up and raising awareness for those suffering from mental health issues. “It is something that has really affected my family,” Greene told Behind the Lens.  “Halfway through last year my cousin – who I was really close with, who I lived around the corner when I was growing up – took his life a week before his 21st birthday. 
Toby & Finley pictured together 
“That came as a complete shock and had no idea that something like that was brewing or something like that could happen. No one saw it coming. He was such a caring and nice young guy who always had the best intentions in life.  “It rocked our whole family very hard and still does. He is the same age as my younger brother, they were both 20 years old at the time and he would be 22 now. I looked at him as my own little brother. “I kept it under wraps for a long time and with a couple of things that have happened of late with mental health I was sitting on the couch one day and I thought: I’m going to do something here and raise a lot of awareness for this issue.  “I thought it was time to share some of my own experiences and raise some awareness for those that might need it.  “I’d never really given mental health too much consideration because it hadn’t been something that affected me. I was always aware of it because I know how devastating it can be. It is a shocking experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.” Greene had wanted to do something to help others suffering from mental health issues for a long time when he reached out to former Carlton and GWS midfielder, Dylan Buckley, someone he became close with at the Giants. The pair sat down for an episode on Buckley’s must-listen podcast, Dyl and Friends, last week, where Greene shared intimate details of the experience and what they are doing to raise awareness and money for Movember.
Rixx Eyewear Movember
“Dyl has been a big advocate for Movember in the last couple of years so I called him and explained my reasoning and idea and he thought it was a great idea and we should do something with it,” Greene said. “He has a good brain for this sort of stuff so we did a podcast. That was actually pretty hard to talk about. But a great way to get the message out there. We’ve had a few guys jump on from the club and heaps of family members. It has been amazing to see the generosity of people so far.” Greene’s extended family is thrilled the All-Australian is using his profile to help the greater good in memory of Finley.
“I have spoken to my aunty who was Finley’s mum a lot over the past few weeks,” he said. “When I thought of the idea she was the first person I wanted to run it by and see how she felt about it, as well as Finley’s brother, Paris. They are all for it; they absolutely love the idea.   “Paris has joined as well. He found the podcast really touching and enjoyed it. I know a lot of Finley’s mates have joined as well. Everyone is right behind it. They obviously would have found it really hard me talking about it, but they know it is for the greater good.” In a year where the coronavirus pandemic has cost people their jobs, threatened livelihoods and forced many people around the country into strict lockdowns, mental health awareness has never been more crucial. “It is more important than ever, especially for those in Melbourne with that they went through this year; I know I would have struggled in that situation,” he said.   “It is 100 per cent more important this year than ever before. Hopefully people found a way to get through. For those who were struggling I know it would have been very hard."  Greene has set the bar high when it comes to his football. This time he has an eye on a big target away from the game. 
He wants to raise $50,000 and he is confident he will get there with your support.  RIXX Eyewear co-founder Tommy Sheridan is one of Greene's close mates and is helping draw awareness to this campaign. He has taken things one step further by donating $50 from every pair of sunglasses sold on November 17 to the campaign.  To support the Mo’s for Finley campaign donate here.
Written by Josh Gabelich

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