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    The Guardian - Susan Alberti: 'If it's the right thing to do, I'll do it to the bitter end'

    Susan Alberti: 'If it's the right thing to do, I'll do it to the bitter end'
    Kate O'Halloran

    The inspirational advocate for women’s footy is relentless when she dedicates herself to a cause


    There were many magical moments in season one of AFLW. But there was one in particular that won’t soon be forgotten. The setting was the Whitten Oval, spiritual home of the Western Bulldogs and community stronghold for so many in the west of Melbourne, on the opening weekend of the inaugural season. The wooden red, white and blue grandstand was buzzing; a sold-out crowd cheered as new heroes ran through their banners.

    Then, there was a smattering of clapping and whispering, which soon turned to thundering applause as those in the stand rose as one. Susan Alberti, dressed in a Western Bulldogs tracksuit with her immaculately manicured hair and trademark pearls had arrived – and the crowd are giving her a standing ovation.


    When Alberti is asked for her version of events that day, her pitch rises audibly. “I said to my husband, ‘what’s going on? Is there something on the ground?’ I looked down and everyone was looking up our way,” she tells Guardian Australia. “I could not get over it, the grandstand erupted and clapped – I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t know I’d made such a difference to people’s lives. I was just so happy to see those women playing. That was all the thanks I needed.”

    This is Alberti being characteristically humble. Over a number of years prior to the introduction of AFLW, she near single-handedly propped up women’s football with her generous donations of more than $100,000, while she tirelessly advocated to the AFL commission, media and anyone else who would listen, for the introduction of the national league. By her own admission, she has had more doors slammed in her face than most in her lifetime, but when she dedicates herself to a cause, she is relentless. “When I’m pursuing something that I think is the right thing to do, I’ll be doing it to the bitter end,” she says.

    Alberti’s love affair with women’s football began with a familiar story – of being turned away from the game she loved as a child. “When I was made to stop playing I was so angry, frustrated and upset,” she says. “There was nowhere for me to go. But it came about [later in life] that I was in a position to truly make a difference – and I mean financially.” So she did. “I’m an action person and I love solutions.”

    Alberti’s patronage of women’s football, as well as her tenure as vice-president of the Bulldogs, are just two examples of a life led trailblazing in a man’s world. It’s all documented in the appropriately titled The Footy Lady: The Trailblazing Story of Susan Alberti. It may seem an obvious choice for such an inspirational woman to have a biography written, but this was never Alberti’s intention and her reasons for sharing her story are borne out of tragedy.

    The prologue to the book – written by the biographer, Stephanie Asher – can only be described as traumatising. In agonising detail, it describes Alberti’s journey to New York to pick up her daughter Danielle – who was suffering severe complications from type 1 diabetes – and urgently needed a kidney transplant. Without hesitation, Alberti offered her own, and collected Danielle for the transplant to take place at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where her daughter would be surrounded by friends and Alberti’s medical connections. But a disaster would soon occur. Several hours into the flight home, Danielle suffered a massive heart-attack, and died in Susan’s arms.

    The day Alberti’s book was released – 1 November – was also Danielle’s birthday. It would have been her 48th. This is a coincidence, she says, but it seems poignant; it was Danielle who asked Alberti to pen her story.

    “She’d say quite often, ‘Mum you’re remarkable, for doing what most women wouldn’t in a man’s world, don’t you think young women would really appreciate hearing your story?’ And I would say ‘oh, no Danielle, who would want to hear about me?’

    “When I was in New York to bring her home and give her my kidney, she said, ‘Mum, have you written that book?’ And I said no. She said, ‘Mum, promise me you’ll write it one day’. I said, ‘alright, I will, Danielle.’ [But] really I wasn’t going to. I’m not comfortable doing things like that, I like making things happen behind the scenes; putting people together, that’s my favourite thing in life, not talking about myself.”

    But Alberti had made a promise to her daughter. “It was her last wish. That’s why I’ve done it – and it took me 15 years to find the courage to do it. I thought [today], Danielle, you would be so proud that I’ve done it for you. I wish I could go to the phone and ring her and say ‘Danielle, I did it’. Danielle was perhaps my greatest support. She used to encourage me to aim higher all the time, and be better, and try harder.”

    When Danielle died, Alberti made another commitment to her daughter – not to rest until she found a cure for type 1 diabetes. Since that day, she has raised over $100m dollars to fund medical research dedicated to the cause. This eventually led to the creation of the Susan Alberti Medical Foundation, which is a philanthropic organisation originally dedicated to funding research into type 1 diabetes, and now also many other worthy causes.

    “I have three wishes in life,” she says. “To see an AFL women’s league, the Bulldogs to win a premiership, and to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. I haven’t fulfilled the last one yet – but two out of three isn’t bad”.


    Susan Alberti cannot hide her emotions following the Bulldogs’s AFL grand final win in 2016. Photograph: Michael Dodge/AFL Media/Getty Images


    After the realisation of AFLW and the Bulldogs’ premiership, Alberti could have been forgiven for resting on her laurels. But after retiring from the post of vice-president at the Bulldogs this year, Alberti remains committed to ensuring continued improvement of conditions for women’s sport. Her latest cause is infrastructure, in light of the explosion in numbers of women playing AFL.

    She says she is “disgusted” at some of the conditions that women and girls continue to play in around the country. “I’ve been to places where I’ve seen two urinals and one toilet and about 40 women including the team and coaching staff. Come on. The girls always want a nervous wee before they play – and they’re all lined up [waiting], it’s ridiculous.

    “Once, when I was at a ground in Craigieburn, the girls had nowhere to go to get changed, they were put in a storage shed – a container. There was no door on the toilet. It’s just not on. You don’t treat elite sportspeople like this. How is it possible to perform at your best?”

    I can imagine [Alberti] being a bit of a mongrel in the contest, an inside mid or something like that
    Katie Brennan
    As with any cause, Alberti is loth to simply complain – instead, she will roll up her sleeves, and do her best to fix it. She says she is committed to seeing girls and women in football appropriately remunerated – and gives an example from the most recent AFLW draft, where the Bulldogs drafted a woman from interstate.

    “The coach got in touch with me, and said, ‘this woman has been drafted, she’s just completing Year 12, [but] there’s no accommodation available for her. We could put her in student accommodation, but she hasn’t got a job and can’t afford it.’ So I asked how much it would cost to put her up, and how long she needed it for and he said three months. So I said, ‘OK, what would you say if I paid for her accommodation, right near the ground so she can train and be safe, and I’ll get her a part-time job?’ I think I’ve already got her a part-time job.

    “I’m just so happy to do that for her. She can’t stop crying, she’s so excited. That’s the kind of thing I love doing, I love making a difference. If I hadn’t stepped in – and this is just one case of what’s happening all around the country – this young woman would have had to give up her dreams of playing AFL.”


    Alberti along with on stage during the 2017 AFLW launch in Melbourne earlier this year. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

    It is hard not to think back to a young Susan Alberti giving up on her dreams of playing football, and in The Footy Lady, Bulldogs AFLW captain Katie Brennan reflects on what kind of footballer she thinks Alberti would have been. “I can imagine her being a bit of a mongrel in the contest, an inside mid or something like that,” she is quoted as saying. “Because she’s passionate and gritty.”

    This seems apt, given the way Alberti commits herself to a cause – with unbridled fervour and resolve. She thinks it’s not far off. “I was tough! Nothing could beat me. I’m sure I would’ve been a marquee player.” At this point she laughs, adding “I sound very modest don’t I?”

    “But I know I would’ve, [because] I was fearless, I was strong, and I had a determination like you have no idea,” she says. As in sport, as in life.

    The Footy Lady: The Trailblazing Story of Susan Alberti, published by Melbourne Uni Press, is out now. Some proceeds go to type 1 diabetes research.
    “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

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  3. #2
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    Re: The Guardian - Susan Alberti: 'If it's the right thing to do, I'll do it to the bitter end'

    So, I started to tear up reading about Susan Alberti's daughter. Then got to the photo of her crying after the grand final, dear god, someone pass the tissues - I'm a blubbering mess!

    She is such a remarkable woman. It's been said a million times before, but the Bulldogs are so, so, so very lucky to be her chosen club.
    Wake me up when we get to heaven, let me sleep if we're going to hell

    Good luck, for your sake I hope heaven and hell are really there, but I wouldn't hold my breath

    And we all found heaven - 2016 Premiers!

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    Re: The Guardian - Susan Alberti: 'If it's the right thing to do, I'll do it to the bitter end'

    I’m an action person and I love solutions
    I love that quote.
    AFLW Premiers 2018




    After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we
    Finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
    And pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the
    Police officer's station. So we got in the red vw microbus with the
    Shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the
    Police officer's station.

    Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at
    The police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for
    Being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely, and
    We didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out
    And told us never to be seen driving garbage around the vicinity again,
    Which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer's station
    There was a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was
    Both immediately arrested. Handcuffed. And I said "Obie, I don't think I
    Can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on. " He said, "Shut up, kid.
    Get in the back of the patrol car. "




    Arlo Guthrie

    WOOF NUMBER 6

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    Re: The Guardian - Susan Alberti: 'If it's the right thing to do, I'll do it to the bitter end'

    Quote Originally Posted by Daughter of the West View Post
    So, I started to tear up reading about Susan Alberti's daughter. Then got to the photo of her crying after the grand final, dear god, someone pass the tissues - I'm a blubbering mess!

    She is such a remarkable woman. It's been said a million times before, but the Bulldogs are so, so, so very lucky to be her chosen club.
    Wouldn't that be a terrible thing to have to do? I can't imagine the compartmentalising that would take. "OK I can't indulge my grief or process the shock until I have returned halfway across the World. I just have to push all that down into my dark place and do this"
    AFLW Premiers 2018




    After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we
    Finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
    And pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the
    Police officer's station. So we got in the red vw microbus with the
    Shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the
    Police officer's station.

    Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at
    The police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for
    Being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely, and
    We didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out
    And told us never to be seen driving garbage around the vicinity again,
    Which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer's station
    There was a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was
    Both immediately arrested. Handcuffed. And I said "Obie, I don't think I
    Can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on. " He said, "Shut up, kid.
    Get in the back of the patrol car. "




    Arlo Guthrie

    WOOF NUMBER 6

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    Re: The Guardian - Susan Alberti: 'If it's the right thing to do, I'll do it to the bitter end'

    Susan Alberti named 2017 Melburnian of the Year

    Susan Alberti, known for her tireless work to find a cure for diabetes, has been named as the 2017 Melburnian of the Year.

    The businesswoman, fundraiser and devoted football fan was given the award at Melbourne Town Hall on Saturday night.



    "It's a great honour," she said.

    Mrs Alberti AC said she plans on spending the next 12 months raising awareness and support for people with type 1 diabetes.
    Her daughter, Danielle, died of the chronic disease, which effects 140,000 people across the country.

    Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said Mrs Alberti remained an inspiration for countless others.
    "Not only has Susan raised millions of dollars for diabetes research, but she has given generations of young diabetes sufferers hope that a cure may one day be found," he said.

    "Her legacy will be felt for many decades to come."
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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    Re: The Guardian - Susan Alberti: 'If it's the right thing to do, I'll do it to the bitter end'

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    Susan Alberti named 2017 Melburnian of the Year

    Susan Alberti, known for her tireless work to find a cure for diabetes, has been named as the 2017 Melburnian of the Year.

    The businesswoman, fundraiser and devoted football fan was given the award at Melbourne Town Hall on Saturday night.



    "It's a great honour," she said.

    Mrs Alberti AC said she plans on spending the next 12 months raising awareness and support for people with type 1 diabetes.
    Her daughter, Danielle, died of the chronic disease, which effects 140,000 people across the country.

    Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said Mrs Alberti remained an inspiration for countless others.
    "Not only has Susan raised millions of dollars for diabetes research, but she has given generations of young diabetes sufferers hope that a cure may one day be found," he said.

    "Her legacy will be felt for many decades to come."

    Go Susie!
    AFLW Premiers 2018




    After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we
    Finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
    And pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the
    Police officer's station. So we got in the red vw microbus with the
    Shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the
    Police officer's station.

    Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at
    The police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for
    Being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely, and
    We didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out
    And told us never to be seen driving garbage around the vicinity again,
    Which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer's station
    There was a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was
    Both immediately arrested. Handcuffed. And I said "Obie, I don't think I
    Can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on. " He said, "Shut up, kid.
    Get in the back of the patrol car. "




    Arlo Guthrie

    WOOF NUMBER 6

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    Re: The Guardian - Susan Alberti: 'If it's the right thing to do, I'll do it to the bitter end'

    A Mark Knight Special

    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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    Re: The Guardian - Susan Alberti: 'If it's the right thing to do, I'll do it to the bitter end'

    Susan is a National Treasure. Such an inspiring, courageous and generous woman.
    http://journals.worldnomads.com/merantau
    "It's not about the destination - it's about the trip."

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    Re: The Guardian - Susan Alberti: 'If it's the right thing to do, I'll do it to the bitter end'

    A truly remarkable, inspirational leader. We are so very fortunate to have had her on the board. If they sell the Mark knight posters at the dogs shop I reckon they will sell like hot cakes. Go Susie!!

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    Re: The Guardian - Susan Alberti: 'If it's the right thing to do, I'll do it to the bitter end'

    Another article about Susan Alberti: Melburnian of the Year

    Philanthropist and business woman Susan Alberti AC has been named Melburnian of the Year

    Passionate diabetes crusader and proud ‘footy lady’ Susan Alberti AC has been named Melburnian of the Year.

    From powerhouse business woman in the construction industry to Vice President of her beloved Western Bulldogs, Susan’s successes have been vibrant and numerous. However, her biggest dream is still to come.

    ‘I have had three big wishes in life: to see my team win a premiership, to help establish a women’s football league and to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. I’m still working on the last one,’ Susan said.

    Through her foundation, Susan has so far raised $100 million for medical research, inspired by a pledge made to her daughter Danielle, who died in her arms mid-flight due to complications from diabetes.

    Despite the tragedies she has faced, including her own battle with lymphoma, Susan’s passion and positivity endure. And her reaction to being named Melburnian of the Year was a humble ‘why me?’.

    ‘I am proud to be a girl from Melbourne, so I am honoured to be included in the Melbourne Awards,’ Susan said.

    ‘I love the city’s arts, culture and sport – but I don’t think many people realise that our medical research is also some of the best in the world.

    ‘Every day I am grateful to be in this town. Not least because without the incredible medical research, doctors and staff here in Melbourne, I wouldn’t be alive.

    ‘These experiences make you re-evaluate your life. We have a lot to be thankful for.’

    Beyond her tireless efforts towards a cure for diabetes, Susan is also a strong advocate for preventative health and wellbeing across our community, particularly in relation to dementia and childhood obesity.

    ‘I would like to see children getting off the couch and being fitter, healthier and more active,’ Susan said.


    ‘Every day I am grateful to be in this town.’


    ‘Playing team sports can help people throughout their lives, including in business.

    ‘I also want to see more young people, especially girls, believing in their dreams. They need support and we need to create a level playing field for everybody.’

    The Melbourne Awards are our city’s highest accolade, celebrating significant contributions in sustainability, community, multiculturalism and strengthening Melbourne’s profile.

    “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

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    Re: The Guardian - Susan Alberti: 'If it's the right thing to do, I'll do it to the bitter end'

    https://twitter.com/VFL_Dolphins/sta...15706981965825

    Susan Alberti is the #1 Ticket Holder for Frankston Dolphins for 2018.

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    Re: The Guardian - Susan Alberti: 'If it's the right thing to do, I'll do it to the bitter end'

    Susan is a remarkable lady.
    AFL PREMIERS 2016

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