Kade Simpson isn’t one to seek the spotlight.
Despite 283 AFL games and 13 seasons in the country’s most high-profile sport, Simpson prefers to go about his business with little fuss or fanfare.
That’s not to say he hasn’t done his fair share of media and the 33-year-old has become more comfortable as he’s aged, but he knows the importance of being a voice for those less fortunate.
“It doesn’t come naturally to me at all,” Simpson told AFLPlayers.com.au.
“I try and stay out of the limelight but as I’ve got older and matured I see it as a way to help out other people.
“It’s part of the caper now more so than ever. You come into the system at 18, straight out of high school and everyone knows who you are.
“It’s something you have to learn to deal with but there’s positives that come with that and being able to use it to help out charities and other people who are less fortunate than us.”
Simpson was on-hand at Ikon park as the Carlton playing group handed over a cheque for $10,000 to be split evenly between Football Intergration Development Association and Muscular Dystrophy Australia through the AFL Players Care program.
Through his role with Down Syndrome Victoria, Simpson has had some contact with FIDA — a competition that provides Victorians with an intellectual disability the opportunity to participate in Australian Rules Football.
The Blues best and fairest winner has a personal connection with his fiancé’s nephew having down syndrome.
Teammate Nick Graham is an ambassador for MDA and has organised a few visits to the club for some young people suffering from the disease.
MDA is a full service organisation that invests in research for all muscular dystrophies and provides quality of life programs and services for those affected by the disorder.
Graham said getting involved with MDA gives him something to look forward to outside of the game.
“It’s good to get involved in something that gives me a bit of purpose in life that’s not entirely footy focused,” Graham said.
“It comes naturally to me. The kids’ faces light up when they see you just because of the Carlton uniform so for me to help out has been really rewarding.”
AFL Players Care is the players’ official charity initiative and was established in 2014 with players contributing $50 per player, per game.
$180,000 of this fund is then equally distributed among all 18 male AFL clubs each season giving each team the opportunity to support one or two charities of they are passionate about.