Saturday's Hampden league match between Terang Mortlake and South Warrnambool will be worth something far greater than four points.
It'll be an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for mental health in memory of Thomas Vickers who took his own life on November 30, 2021.
The Bloods will donate their entire gate takings from the match to support four of their players, Kane Johnstone, Thomas' brother Xavier, Hugh Porter and Connor Cardwell who will run the Melbourne Marathon on October 2 in honour of their mate and to raise funds for a community-based project aimed at getting people to talk about their mental health.
Thomas' younger brother Tyler will also make his senior debut in the match.
"The day it happened, I remember going down to Hugh Porter's house - Connor and myself were sort of just sitting there and saying 'we need to do something to make sure this doesn't happen again'," Johnstone told The Standard.
"We were planning something and I then got injured playing football and I was going to do the Melbourne Marathon so we sort of thought we'd put it to something that would go to a good cause."
The boys - alongside Thomas' mother Lizz and Sheryn McDowell - will go under the banner of 'Let's Dog the Black Dog' in raising awareness.
"I was trying to think of a name to put on my bib and I thought 'Let's Dog the Black Dog' would work and I decided it'd be the name of it - with that, it's sort of one of things that's a name for depression so we thought we'd have something to do with that," he said.
"When I spoke to Lizz and Sheryn about what we were trying to do, I remember Lizz saying to create a positive out of a negative situation."
He urged the community to get to Terang Mortlake Recreation Reserve and dig deep.
"It's a big day for the family and everyone involved so if we could get as many people there as possible that'd be good," he said.
Club president Matt Clarke said the club had no hesitation in getting behind its players.
"The fundraiser itself, the four guys are closely connected to Thomas and his family, obviously Xav is one of his brothers so they've done it off their own back in regards to running the marathon," he said.
"It came to us as an executive the way the club could get behind it was to donate our entire gate raffle towards that - it was fitting at the time because back last year when Thomas passed was when the under 23 competition was on and we actually played South Warrnambool in that round and South were outstanding in supporting our club and the family.
"It's fitting we play them this week - it's a small gesture from our club in the bigger picture of things.
"It's something we can do that might make a difference along the way and gives the boys and what they're doing and Thomas' mother Lizz a bit more air-time."
For more information on how to donate head to the 'Let's Dog the Black Dog' Facebook page.
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