Almanac Comedy: Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision Fundraiser

After two nights of being spoilt with a 10-minute walk to gigs Friday I was on the road to Albury. I was MC’ing a fundraiser for the “Maddie Riewoldt Vision” hosted by the Lavington Football Club at the SS&A club, for those who aren’t familiar with Maddie Riewoldt’s story she is the younger sister of St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt. Maddie was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia – a rare disorder in which the body’s bone marrow doesn’t make enough blood cells – in the first week of the 2010 AFL finals series. She remained strong and positive through five years of treatment which included chemotherapy and two bone marrow transplants from donors in France. She also underwent more than 100 blood transfusions and seven months in hospital dealing with the condition, unfortunately she lost her battle on the 24th February 2015. The Lavington FC have been a strong supporter of “Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision” which was set up by her parents as it was Maddie’s dream to raise money and find a cure for this rare disease if she beat it. Lavington became involved through former St Kilda player and one of Nick’s good mates Justin Koschitzke who plays for Lavington.


I arrived at the SS&A club and met with Lavington’s president Peter who is a cracking bloke and extremely laid back. I asked him during the week if there was a run sheet for the night which there wasn’t so it was a pretty laid back function with about 60 footballers, netballers and supporters attending. Peter had hoped a few St Kilda players could make it up for the night but due to them having the bye a lot of them were away including Nick who was on a best mate’s bucks weekend down in Tassie. Fortunately, Maddie’s father Joe had made it up for the weekend, I had a chat to him before the function just to get a better understanding of Maddie’s Vision. It was amazing talking to him, just a great man who I could tell was extremely strong, his passion for Maddie and her vision was overwhelming. I could tell he was a character as well, I asked him if he wanted to come up and have a bit of a chat to everyone but he said he was happy to just enjoy the function. With that being the case I thought the night is going to be over pretty quick as I was going to introduce the night then do a little bit of stand up and after that we had 3 items to auction.


After everyone had some finger food we kicked the night off, I welcomed everyone and then made the announcement that the SS&A club had donated $5,000 to “Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision” which was amazing. After getting through the official announcements I then got into 12-15 minutes of stand up which at fundraisers like this can be a little different. Also when you suddenly switch from host to comedian the crowd can find it a little strange, but it seemed to work well. I mixed between a bit of crowd work and material and picked out a few things in the room to riff on. I then switched back to host as I got into the serious part of the night and introducing and explaining “Maddie’s Vision”. I felt I wanted to do it justice and I didn’t want to miss anything which I made clear to the crowd, at that point Joe Riewoldt asked if I wanted him to come up on stage and help me out, which I was happy that he did. I think it really added to the night, Joe started out explaining Maddie’s Vision and went into tell everyone that in the year since they set it up they’ve raised $1 million which is a phenomenal effort. I prompted him with a few questions about how people can get involved which included Twitter and Facebook and he then went into some hilarious stories about when he hacked into his wife’s Facebook account and when Nick had to tell him to delete a Tweet that was directed at the St Kilda football club, he had the crowd and myself in tears of laughter and it was a great way to lighten up the mood after explaining everything that Maddie had been through. We finished by auctioning off the few items and then we were done, I hung around for a while afterwards and chatted to a lot of the players, supporters and chatted to Joe again. I really love making these trips up to country areas, I enjoy the drive and it’s great to meet great people. I commend the Lavington FC for getting involved with such a great cause, I know sometimes football clubs and footballers can receive negative press for how a minority of them behave and from an outsider’s perception a lot of clubs and players get tarred with the same brush but I don’t think football and sporting clubs in general get enough credit for all the positive things they do in our communities. It was an honour to host the function on Friday night for the Lavington FC and to help support “Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision” good luck for the rest of the year and Joe Riewoldt stay off your wife’s Facebook account.


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The above post first appeared in Evan Hocking’s blog 

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