Ongoing support for sick children
TWO Gympie rally teams completed a seven-day outback motoring adventure and raised nearly $30,000 for children and their families living with cancer.
This is an incredible achievement for local teams, which contributed to the total of $1.4 million raised by the 2011 Camp Quality esCarpade.
EsCarpade rally veterans Michelle (six years) and David Agnew (three years) raised nearly $8000 for the charity this year, topping a fundraising tally of $80,000 raised over the years with another team.
Beginners' enthusiasm saw Michael Brown and Peter Drane raise a whopping $20,000 in their first year on the rally. Except for a few minor repairs, their trusty Holden VL Commodore held up for the entire length of the journey - 3000km from Bendigo to Bright.
The decision to enter the rally arose from Michael's involvement with Camp Quality due to his son having had leukaemia in 1998 and again in 2008. Michelle lost a close friend to breast cancer five years ago.
"It was one of the hardest things to go through - to think of kids going through this is heartbreaking, but they have amazing spirit," she said.
Michael's son Cameron (now 20 and in remission) attended many camps run by Camp Quality and was also joined by his sisters and the whole family over the years.
"It was a great distraction for all of us and helped us meet people in similar circumstances," Michael said.
"Cameron is now too old, but has recently joined Camp Quality as a companion and attends camp to look after the younger kids."
Both teams thanked the "immense support" from Gympie sponsors who supplied parts, materials and labour - free, cheaply or at cost.
"It's hard to explain how much fun it is - everyone should try it once," Michelle said. "I am the Queensland rep for EsCarpade ... the course for next year will be announced next week so we are excited."
The Agnew's will enter two cars - an LH 202 Torana and Mercedes-Benz - next year and have seats available. Call 0428 585 175 if interested.
Fundraising for Camp Quality continues with weekly trivia nights at the Phoenix on Wednesday's from 7pm.