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Two years in, Maddie's Vision making a profound impact

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 19: Jack Riewoldt of the Tigers and Nick Riewoldt of the Saints shake hands after the 2015 AFL round 16 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Richmond Tigers at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Australia on July 19, 2015. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
Jack and Nick Riewoldt embrace after the inaugural Maddie's Match in 2015.
The ability to do something really positive with the grief and channel it and hopefully help other people is a great thing to be able to do.
Nick Riewoldt

In just two years, Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision has raised $1.6 million towards unearthing a cure for bone marrow failure syndromes, and now St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt has set a target of adding another $300,000 in the second edition of ‘Maddie’s Match’.

Riewoldt, 34, lost his younger sister Maddie to aplastic anaemia in 2015, leading to the inception of the Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision charity and the inaugural Maddie’s Match in 2015, against his cousin, Richmond key forward Jack Riewoldt, and his Tigers.

St Kilda will face Richmond in ‘Maddie’s Match 2.0’ on Saturday, July 8 at Etihad Stadium.

The six-time Trevor Barker Award winner admits the talk of the game brings up strong emotions, but the ability to channel the grief and use his profile to support a cause he holds dear to him is something him and his family are proud of.

“It’s been about two years since we launched Maddie’s Vision and about two and a half years since Maddie passed away and in that span of time the way we’ve been embraced by the wider AFL community has been unreal,” Riewoldt told journalists at a press conference on Thursday morning.

“There is always still an element of sadness; anyone that’s lost anyone would understand that. But the ability to do something really positive with the grief and channel it and hopefully help other people is a great thing to be able to do.

“The first Maddie’s Match two years ago kicked it all off and set the tone. In two years we’ve been able to raise $1.6 million, which is currently out working through fellowships or medical research grants we’ve provided.

“This is Maddie’s Match 2.0. We’ve got a target for the game of about $300,000 we want to raise which will go towards some great research.”

After having purple – the colour of Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision – emblazoned across the back of the Saints guernsey in 2015, the club has gone a step further in 2017, replacing the red stripe with purple for the game, much to the appreciation of St Kilda’s longest serving skipper.

“I think it looks great; the club has done a great job. Clearly, the purple is the colour of Maddie’s Vision,” Riewoldt said.

“I don’t think it’s happened too many times; I think they might have done it during World War II and wore red, black and yellow.

“It’s only the second time purple has made its way onto the jumper and the first time onto the front of the jumper.

“It’s really great the club has been able to partner with Maddie’s Vision to be able to do that.”