When Maddie Riewoldt was diagnosed with aplastic anemia in 2010, the former St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt said his family was "extraordinarily naive".
"As to what it was, what the treatment involved was and how serious it was," Riewoldt said on Tuesday.
Five years after being diagnosed, Maddie died aged 26 in what Riewoldt describes as "paying ultimate price".
Today, Riewoldt launched the fourth instalment of Maddie's Match, a fund-raising competition to be held in Round 15 on June 30 at Marvel Stadium, between St Kilda and Richmond, where cousin Jack Riewoldt plays.
"I don't want to speak for him, but he's got it pencilled in as he's really ambitious in wanting to get back because it does mean a lot to be able to play on that day," Riewoldt said of his cousin, who has been out with injuries he sustained in late April.
The former St Kilda champion vowed to improve the diagnosis for other sufferers of the rare and fatal blood disorder in which the body's bone marrow does not make enough new blood cells.
"The diagnosis is really difficult, the treatment inadequate and poor in some cases and the survival rate is not at an acceptable level," he said.
"In this day and age, it's not acceptable for the treatments and outcomes to be so poor."
Standing next to 12-year-old Blake Dridan, whose troubles with the disorder began in 2016, Riewoldt encouraged fans to buy merchandise, donate to Maddie Riewoldt's Vision and "most importantly" to come to the game.
"We're really determined to change the outcomes and eventually find a cure for people like Blake", he said.
"You've been to hell and back, haven't you buddy? You're a really brave boy and we're really proud of you standing out here today."
Since launching in 2015, Maddie Riewoldt's Vision has raised more than $7 million that has funded 15 research projects.
"We've had some real tangible results in a short period of time," he said.
"Because of the work we were able to do in genomics, all of a sudden they [patients] were diagnosed, their treatment paths altered and now they're in remission. So real tangible, life-altering results that have been on the back of Maddie's Vision research that we've funded.
"We are at the cutting edge but there's still a lot to do."
Riewoldt said he wanted to raise a "couple hundred thousand" dollars this time and praised RSEA Park for kicking off fundraising with a $10,000 donation to the cause. He alsoRead More – Source