It started as one Freo-loving family looking for a way to say thanks to the Starlight Children’s Foundation for their support of one of their daughters.
Thirteen years on, Haylie and Phil Dowson, with the people of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, have eclipsed $1 million raised to help support seriously ill children and their families.
This year, their now-famous Starlight fundraiser raised more than $147,500 for Starlight and Haylie Dowson said they never imagined having this level of success.
“It just started out to be a small get together for people to show their support for those caring for sick kids,” Dowson said.
“For it get to this today is amazing. It's totally unexpected and not something we ever thought was possible.
“It’s thanks to having a group of like-minded people that form our committee who are selfless in their time, dedication and their ability to help pull the event together. Their support is what makes it happen.”
Dowson will be a special guest of Fremantle’s at Thursday night’s clash with Hawthorn, which will be the 19th annual Starlight Purple Haze Game, proudlypresented by South32.
She said it will be extra special with Fremantle wearing a Milli Tribute Jumper to recognise superfan Milli Lucas, who passed away after a long battle with cancer earlier this year at the age of 14.
“We are just so grateful that Starlight are the major beneficiary of the game. To know that Milli was a Starlight advocate, it's a little bit overwhelming, actually,” Dowson said.
“My husband's really devastated that he can't come as we think it's going to be one of the most emotional games because we’ll have the Starlight visual with the jumper that was designed by Milli’s siblings.
“I feel like it's going have a greater impact than any other year.”
Fans are encouraged to make a pledge for every goal kicked by Fremantle. Currently, fans have pledged $2,500 per goal and Freo are aiming to reach $5,000 per goal by bouncedown.
Make every goal count for sick kids!
Pledge a donation for every goal Freo kick in our Starlight Purple Haze game against Geelong and help brighten the lives of sick kids.PLEDGE
“Even if it's just a little bit for every goal, just knowing the difference to a family that that will make is momentous. It's just huge,” Dowson said.
“I think supporting these things is a really selfless act and one that goes noticed by the people who really need it.
“We’ve seen the difference that Starlight can make to sick children, not just in our region, but everywhere in Australia.”