FOOTBALL media personality and player manager Liam Pickering is calling on all sports fans to get behind a Ballarat boy in the "fight of his life".
The Off the Bench star, who hails from Stawell, personally launched a fundraising campaign for 12-year-old Blake Dridan, who was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder that has been tormenting his life for almost three years.
Pickering said it was tough on regional families who were forced to travel to Melbourne for life-saving treatment, especially for such a prolonged period.
Then, the Dridan family's ute was stolen and set alight in July.
"This is a family that doesn't just need luck," Pickering said. "This is a family that needs all our support.
"...Footy and the sporting world's been great at helping people. When you can find the right people it can make a big difference - given Hutchy (co-host Craig Hutchison) and I are both country boys and this is a country show, we really wanted to get behind this."
Blake has been fighting to overcome aplastic anaemia, the same severe blood disorder as Maddie Riewoldt, who is the sister of St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt. Maddie died four years ago with bone marrow failure.
In March 2017, aged 10, Blake underwent a bone marrow transplant but life has been a rollercoaster since.
Australian sporting superstars have thrown their support behind Blake, including the Australian cricket team, in a constant stream of well-wishes and inspirational pep-talks.
His beloved Richmond Football Club, where Maddie Riewoldt's cousin Jack plays, have checked in along the journey.
Blake visited the Tigers and spent time with players at Punt Road in the week leading into their AFL Preliminary Final win. The experience took its toll and Blake was back in Royal Children's Hospital by the afternoon.
Maddie Riewoldt Foundation, headlined by its annual Fight Like Maddie AFL match, is fighting for a cure.
Pickering called on all sports fans across Crocmedia channels to help in a grassroots approach - a fundraiser to help ease the family's financial burden while they help Blake.
Pickering, who has been messaging and talking with Blake's dad Luke, said the emotional cost for the whole family had been enormous with the amount of unknown often leading to answers based on hope.
The fundraiser has generated almost $3000 in less than a week.
Pickering, who put up $1000 straight-up, said he called on a few of his Ballarat mates to make an impact too.
"Hopefully with a bit of publicity on air we can give it a bit more awareness," Pickering said.
"Any contribution, it doesn't matter how much, even if it's 10 or 20 bucks, can all make a difference."
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