26/04/2013 - 11:05

Footy Match Helps Burn Survivors Tell Their Stories

26/04/2013 - 11:05


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Footy Match Helps Burn Survivors Tell Their Stories
Grazi Lisciotto says the brokers and bankers football match has been a success. Photo: Bohdan Warchomij

Mixing sport and fundraising has proved a winner for not-for-profit groups but the Peter Hughes Burn Foundation has taken the formula past the post to also inspire and motivate beneficiaries of its work.

The foundation, which is named after Bali bombing burns survivor Peter Hughes, raised $15,000 last year from its inaugural bankers versus brokers football match.

The money goes to help burns survivors through the emotional turmoil associated with recovery.

Peter Hughes Burn Foundation CEO Grazi Lisciotto, a burns survivor, and Mr Hughes both played in last year’s game.

“Once you’re a burn survivor, physically, a lot has been taken away from you, and you can’t do the same things that you used to,” Mr Lisciotto told Business News.

“We’ve showed other burns survivors that ... it’s about having a go, it’s not about sitting at home and being the victim.”

In 2003, Mr Lisciotto suffered severe burns after a  self-harm incident stemming from his battle with depression.

Mr Lisciotto said that while he received a lot of support in his physical rehabilitation, for a long time he was unable to find the assistance he required when it came to his mental recovery.

A few years later, he attended a retreat hosted by the foundation, which was then known as the Burn Foundation of Australia, and was buoyed by how well others were managing to deal with their circumstances.

“I was confused because for three years I was a prisoner in my own home and I saw them (other burns survivors) laughing,” Mr Lisciotto said.

“They gave me a little bit of hope and I kept moving forward from there.”

He began volunteering for the foundation but by 2009 it became clear the organisation was at a standstill and no longer growing.

In an effort to overcome this, the patron of the foundation, Mr Hughes, was asked to put his name to the foundation.

He accepted and asked that Mr Lisciotto be appointed CEO.

Mr Hughes’ son and general manager of mortgage and financing broking firm Quantum Finance Australia, Gavin Harrigan, struck on the idea of exploiting the rivalry between bankers and brokers in a charitable football match.

Mr Lisciotto said there was a little scepticism at first but after the success of the first event, there had been an overwhelming response from both bankers and brokers, to such an extent that there is now a waiting list for the next game in June.  

The money raised from the match as well as other fundraising events organised in the name of the foundation, such as the Cape2Cape run, go towards the retreats.

At the camps burns survivors are able to share their experiences in a supportive environment and they are also able to hear the stories of others.

“We’re victims and we become survivors, then we become wounded healers and as wounded healers we’re helping the new victims become survivors,” Mr Lisciotto said.


Charitable sporting events in WA: a miscellaneous selection

*data according to last event


iiNet Team Sprint Cup

Charity: Autism West

Participants: 66 corporate challenge, 204 school entrants

Sport: Swimming

Location: Christ Church Grammar School Swimming Pool

First held in 2008

6 x 50m relay

Raised: $130,000+


Rottnest Channel Swim

Charity: Royal Flying Doctor Service, Starlight Foundation, Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation, Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group

Participants: 2300 swam, 900 boats (1-4 people)

Sport: Swimming

Location: Cottesloe beach to Thomson Bay on Rottnest Island

First held in 1991


Raised: $116,000+


Surfaid Corporate Cup

Charity: Surfaid

Participants: 32 (includes pro surfers)

Sport: Surfing

Location: Margaret River

First held in 2012 (WA)

Raised: $89,300+


Inaugural Governor’s Tennis Charity Day

Charity: Variety WA

Participants: 110

Sport: Tennis

Location: Cottesloe Tennis Club

First held in 2013

Raised: $20,000+


Warrior Dash

Charity: Red Cross

Participants: 8,000

Sport: Obstacle Course

Location: Northam Army Training Camp

First held in 2013


Raised: N/A


Kilimanjaro Mountain Climb

Charity: Amnesty International

Participants: 8 (WA)

Sport: Mountain Climb

Location: Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

First held in 2012

Km vary according to weather

Raised: $272,000


Bankers Vs Brokers Football Match

Charity: Peter Hughes Burn Foundation

Participants: 60 *approx

Sport: Football

Location: Medibank Stadium

First held in 2012

4 x 20 min quarters

Raised: $15,000


George Jones Family Foundation Cystic Fibrosis Golf Classic

Charity: Cystic Fibrosis WA

Participants: 120

Sport: Golf

Location: Lake Karrinyup

First held in 2011

18 holes

Raised: $100,000


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