July 29, 2019
Fundraising for the South Burnett Relay For Life committee’s 2019 campaign received a massive kick-along on Saturday night with the annual Dinner With The Captains in Kingaroy.
The total amount raised is still being calculated, but organising committee spokesman Carl Rackemann said the live and silent auctions by themselves raised about $19,000.
The largest amount bid was just over $3000 for the Brisbane Broncos “ultimate experience”, donated by the Broncos.
Adding to the fundraising were the tickets bought by the almost 400 people packed into the hall and the proceeds of a big multi-draw raffle with prizes donated by local businesses.
Carl said the South Burnett region raises an average of $5-$6 per head every year for Cancer Council Queensland compared with the national average of about $1.
“I don’t know how we do it but we keep on doing it!” Carl said.
The fundraising was the serious part of the evening but the audience also enjoyed a three-course meal and plenty of inspiration (and laughs) from the three guest speakers.
Former Kangaroo, Maroon and State of Origin winger Michael Hancock was called off the bench as a last-minute replacement for Greg Inglis but no one in the audience seemed to mind – even when Michael admitted he had never captained anything (even Under 12s).
There were some surprises in Michael’s talk … including the fact he could well have ended up as a Blue. And the fear he felt when he was crunched by NZ players early in his career (he was still a teenager when he was selected to play for Australia in the NZ Test series).
“It took a long time to get over the fear factor and get back into the game,” he said.
However, his “never give up attitude” led to five premierships with the Broncos plus 20 games each for Queensland and Australia.
The second guest speaker was solo around-the-world sailor and 2011 Young Australian of the Year Jessica Watson who circumnavigated the globe in 210 days – at the age of 16.
Jessica started thinking about the idea when she was just 11 and although her parents didn’t say no straight away they thought she would get over it.
“But over the next few years I became absolutely obsessed,” she said.
Jessica spoke about the embarrassment of “running into” a 63,000 tonne container ship during a training run: “I still have nightmares about hitting ships!”.
During her solo, unassisted circumnavigation, her yacht, “Ella’s Pink Lady”, was upturned multiple times by massive waves.
She filled in her time with books, music, blogging – and when she was really bored, schoolwork!
Jessica also admitted she had to rely on her pre-packed food: during the whole trip she only caught one fish.
Michael and Jessica were interviewed on stage by compere Carl Rackemann, but the third guest for the night, Greg “Fat Cat” Ritchie, took to the podium by himself.
The former Australian Test batsman – and Queensland captain – has had a long media and speaking career after retiring from the crease, including a regular spot for years on The Footy Show.
He shared the story about how his character “Mahatma Cote” came into existence (blame fellow cricketer, David Hookes).
Greg shared some hilarious but unrepeatable stories about overseas tours – particularly to the West Indies – but said the greatest day of his life had been when he got that first phone call to say he had been selected to represent Australia.
The major sponsor for the Dinner With The Captains evening was the Kingaroy Telstra Store.
Store manager Jason Koy said he couldn’t think of a better way to make a difference in the community than to support Cancer Council Queensland.
CCQ General Manager (Advocacy) James Farrell said almost 28,000 people would be diagnosed with cancer in Queensland this year.
In the south-west Queensland region – which includes the South Burnett – there would be more than 2000 cases, ie. more than 40 a week.
As well as funding research, CCQ also supports cancer patients and their families.
“Almost 8000 Queenslanders reached out for help to the Cancer Council last year,” James said.
He said they relied on community support: “We don’t receive any government funding.”
South Burnett Relay For Life committee chair Rowena Dionysius said the group was hoping to raise $100,000 again this year for CCQ from the Relay and associated activities.
“Without your help we can’t get the money we need for research … research, research and more research,” she said.
Footnote: Congratulations to the seven members of the Captains Dinner organising committee: Simon Neal, Chantal Harth, Jenny Underwood, Robyn Broomhall, Frances Wyeth, and Carl and Louise Rackemann.