Joseph Thomas Moschetti was born on July 6, 1998. He was extremely passionate about sport; at age 6 he started playing Aussie Rules Footy, firstly at Glen Waverley Hawks, then for Waverley Blues and finally at Vermont Football Club. He played cricket for Vermont South and in Year 11 and 12, he was studying The Australia Cricket Program at SEDA.
Joseph loved his friends, going out, drinking and eating; his appetite was legendary. He was a very tall and at 17 he was already 6ft 4inches! He was very friendly, speaking to everyone and making friends everywhere he went, he was the sort of person you don’t forget. Joseph passed away on July 30, 2016, he was 18. A few weeks before his passing he had been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and had spent a few days in hospital, but by the end of July, he was getting back to his old self, feeling healthy and back at school. July 29 was just like any other Friday; Joseph had been to school, walked home, had dinner and as usual, seconds…but that night he died in his sleep. Despite numerous tests for his parents and two siblings at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and The Royal Children’s Hospital, nothing could be found to explain his death and it will remain forever unexplained.
His death was a complete and utter shock. Rob and Jane; Joseph’s parents, were in a living nightmare and they quickly turned to The Compassionate Friends (TCF), based in Canterbury, Victoria. They were desperate to meet others who were experiencing what they were going through and they decided to give one of the support groups a try. Initially, these groups were extremely exhausting, but eventually they came to see that others did things they enjoyed, and that you could grieve for a child while at the same time, still have hope for the future. Rob and Jane attended the support group almost every month for 2 years and still go to regular functions and events organised by TCF. They have made friends there and the support that TCF has given them has been enormous.
On July 30, 2016, Joseph was planning to attend Vermont Football Club. Sean Bell, a member of the club, was someone Joseph would have caught up with that day. Joseph and Sean had attended the same high school but it was at the football club where they became friends, bonding over their love for the Richmond football club. After Joseph’s passing, his family received a very moving letter from Sean telling them of his friendship with Joseph. In September 2016, at the Vermont Football Club Presentation night, Rob was asked to present the ‘Moe’ award in Joseph’s honour; now an inaugural award which is presented to a player who lives Joseph’s values and enhances the club culture. Sean won the award, and that was the first time Jane and Rob met him in person. After this, Sean started frequently visiting the Moschetti family and a strong friendship developed.
During his visits to the Moschetti family Sean unfortunately heard stories about the insensitive and inappropriate ways they had been treated and spoken to after Joseph’s death, and how some friends no longer made contact. They explained to him that unfortunately these stories were very common and happen to almost all of the bereaved people they had met at TCF.
These stories had a huge impact on Sean and so he decided he needed to help, which is how the ‘Jog for Joey’, run around Australia campaign was born. Sean asked Rob and Jane to help choose the partnering charity, and they decided The Compassionate Friends. A Jog for Joey committee was formed and it was agreed that any money raised would go towards helping educate the community on how to treat bereaved families. Nothing can bring back a child but hopefully through education, other bereaved people in the future will have more support and compassion from family, friends, work colleagues and others in their community.