Penrith Panthers Hall of Famer Royce Simmons was rewarded with the Citizen of the Year Award on Tuesday evening at the Penrith City Council's Local Celebration Awards.

The announcement of the prestigious honour and recognition by Penrith City comes after Simmons' raising awareness for dementia through his ‘Royce's Big Walk' fundraising.

“To win it is very special. This is a city of really good people, who when one of their own falls on some hard times, everyone is there to support you and make sure you get looked after," Simmons told

“We have paid for three programs already with the money we have raised. In the next few months, we will pay for a fourth research program."

“I will continue to keep the foundation pumping along and continue to help grow the research so we can hopefully one day find a cure.”

“It's good to be helping where we can.”

After he was diagnosed with dementia in 2021 at the age of 61, Simmons has focused all of his attention on aiming to help those affected by the disease and their families.

In the past two years, ‘Royce's Big Walk' has raised over $1.5 million for Dementia Australia. All the funds raised through the foundation go towards researching dementia. The disease is currently affecting more than 400,000 people in Australia.

Former NRL legends Brad Fittler, Terry Lamb, Paul Sironen, Paul Langmack, and Garry Jack are just a few former players that have participated in the walk and helped raise awareness for dementia alongside Simmons.

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