On Friday, November 18th 2022, Blake’s Army and the Irvine Club collaborated to successfully generate in excess of $160,000 through a charity lunch held at Zinc, Federation Square in Melbourne.
The 2022 edition of the Irvine Club charity November lunch was the first held since 2019 due to covid. With this longer than anticipated wait between drinks, there was a lot of energy in the room as members and guests became re-acquainted.
West Indian cricket legend Brian Lara was the guest speaker for the day and had everyone hanging off every word. Ex-Australian fast bowler Damien Fleming was the master of ceremonies and he and Brian ensured a great day out for the 400 people in attendance. Brian regaled the audience with stories of his playing days that had us all in stitches, but what really made the day special was when he openly reflected on a story of a friend who suffered similar bone marrow issues to those Blake has been fighting for the past 6 years. He spoke of the suffering and the trauma faced by his friend and the family, which resonated strongly with those in attendance.
Blake’s father and director of Blake’s Army, Luke Dridan, spoke to the room about the battle that Blake has fought and the impact that it has had on Blake, family and the community they live. The audience heard that bone marrow failure predominantly affects the young and less than 50% of young people diagnosed will survive past 5 years of diagnosis. Although Blake’s story was somewhat sobering on what had been a festive day, you could sense the resolve in the room to make a difference and the actions that followed proved this to be the case!
For those that have heard of Blake’s Army, you will know that over the years, Blake has had the support of some of Australia’s most iconic sportspeople. We all know that there are varying degrees of support, whether it be a smile and wave to a camera or on more rare occasions, there is a more “let’s roll up the sleeves and fix this” level of support and Blake’s Army are fortunate to have the latter.
In total, there were around 40 items auctioned on the day as well as a major raffle.
The people and organisations that provided the items for auction were largely Australian sporting icons such as Paul Roos, Lydia Lassila, Justin Langer, Joel Camilleri, Mark Skaiffe, Fraser Gehrig and major sporting organisations such as Tennis Australia, Cricket Victoria, Melbourne Stars, Melbourne Renegades and the Western Bulldogs in conjunction with the Committee For Ballarat.
Several businesses also got behind Blake’s Army in being able to provide items that would prove popular and provide the platform for the ultimate success achieved.
Friday, November 18th, 2022 will forever be remembered as the day that Brian Lara and Australia’s sporting icons delivered a significant blow to Bone Marrow Failure.
Blake’s Army are extremely appreciative of the funds generated to support research into Bone Marrow Failure and also to help support families affected by Bone Marrow Failure, but we are also excited to announce that these funds will also provide an opportunity for over 80 people to participate in the Paul Roos designed and delivered Blake’s Army Leadership Program that will commence in March 2023.
For every $2000 that Blake’s Army generate in donations, ONE PERSON who has visited the Blake’s Army website and registered their details in the Blake’s Army Reserve to participate in this once in a lifetime program will be admitted to the 2023 program.
To learn more about the Paul Roos designed Leadership Program, visit https://blakesarmy.org.au/leadership-program/
To REGISTER visit https://blakesarmy.org.au/blakes-army-reserve/
To support further research into finding a cure to all Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes while also supporting Australians who would like to participate in the BA Leadership Program, your donations, whether they be big or small, will provide the ammunition required for us to succeed together. All donations are fully tax deductible, please visit https://blakesarmy.org.au/business-support/#businessdonate for business donations or https://blakesarmy.org.au/general-public-soldier-donations/#soldiersdonate for all other donations.