DALE Rose is certain his best friend Michael Wilson would have hated all the attention and fuss.
But hundreds of friends, family and strangers will be at Knox Basketball Stadium this Sunday to remember Mr Wilson and raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation. "He would be so embarrassed by all this. He was so shy so he probably wouldn't turn up," Mr Rose said.
Mr Wilson died from leukaemia in October last year aged 25, after being diagnosed with the disease 11 months earlier. "He fought for that whole time. He was a rock. I've never seen someone handle it like that, it blew me away," Mr Rose said.
The two life-long friends lived opposite each other in Scoresby for 25 years. Their mothers told them they first met when they were five months old. "We grew up side by side," Mr Rose, 27, said. "He really was my brother from another mother."
Along with his brother Mitchell, Mr Rose was originally planning a small "muck around" basketball game to honour his friend, but he said there was an "outpour of interested people — it was very overwhelming".
Basketball was a passion the two men shared since a very young age. "Michael loved it. He got me into it and we played together for 11 years."
There would be a number of charity basketball matches of "decent quality" played, Mr Rose said, with players from the Knox Raiders joining in the fun.
A raffle has been organised with tickets at $5 each and there will be sporting prizes from the Melbourne Demons, Tigers and Victory.
Mr Rose visits the grave of his friend at least once every three weeks and says that has given him the motivation to organise the event — "it reaffirms why I am doing it".
He said he had great support from family and friends, even those that didn't know Mr Wilson that well. "He was quite shy so it sometimes took a while to really get to know him. But they all say they just knew he was a kind-hearted person."
The 'tribute to Michael Wilson' event will be held this Sunday from noon at the Knox Basketball Stadium in Boronia. Entry is $10 and all proceeds go to the Leukaemia Foundation. Details: email@example.com.