Steve Waugh Bowled Over by Charity Task
Thursday, 29th October 2015 at 11:20 am
Sporting legend Steve Waugh has warned other high-profile Australians that setting up a charity or foundation is harder than it looks and not to enter the process lightly.
The former Australian cricket captain is gearing up to ride his bike more than 900 kilometres to raise money and awareness for his charity, the Steve Waugh Foundation.
The Foundation has helped more than 600 children and young adults with rare diseases and their families by providing grants for essential medical treatment and equipment.
Waugh told Pro Bono Australia News that starting his own charity following his retirement in 2004 had been more difficult than he ever imagined.
“It’s been way harder. I give advice to people who say they want to start up a foundation and I say ‘look, if there’s something that’s already in a similar space, help the organisation that’s already set up because it is a massive undertaking’,” Waugh said.
“Particularly this one where we’re setting it up from scratch, we’re not following anyone else’s blueprint, we’re working it out as we go along and we’re raising a lot of awareness, so we don’t just raise money and distribute it, we raise awareness, which is another big, big task.
“It’s satisfying but it’s also extremely difficult. I guess that's part of what makes me do it.”
Waugh said running his own charity was as difficult to playing cricket for Australia.
“Cricket was relatively easy because that was natural and I knew what I was doing. Going into charity we were pretty naive about it and thought we can help people who need help and that’s how we started,” he said.
“We didn’t realise how much work was involved and to get it to where it is today I think we’re in a pretty good place but it’s taken an enormous effort from a lot of people, particularly my wife who dedicates 30 or 40 hours a week to the foundation, and she’s done that for 10 years.
“It’s difficult but rewarding and at the end of the day it certainly gives you meaning in life to do this sort of thing so I’m very glad I’m doing it.”
From Sunday 1 November, Waugh and around 60 other leaders from a range of sectors in Australia will ride 920 kilometres over six days from Sydney to Byron Bay.
The inaugural Captain’s Ride aims to raise more than $750,000 for children and young adults with rare diseases.
One of the children that the Steve Waugh Foundation has helped is 12-year-old Liam Titterton.
His mother, Karen Titterton, told Pro Bono Australia News that the Foundation had supported her son, who has a rare autoimmune disease called acute disseminating encephalomyelitis, by providing him with a high-tech standing wheelchair and a speech device.
“Effectively the Steve Waugh Foundation has made Liam walk and talk,” Titterton said.
“On Christmas eve the wheelchair arrived and it was the best Christmas present ever. I got my first hug from my son when he was eight-years-old and it was all due to that stand up wheelchair.”
Members of the public have been encouraged to support the Captain’s Ride by sharing images showing what they think represents strength of character before, during and after the ride on Instagram using #captainsride @swfaustralia and @stevewaugh.