Doing it for charity

Posted: May 28, 2012 by tforder in Social Issues, Sport
Tags: ,

Charities are turning to exercise on a large scale to raise funds and awareness and many Australians are happily signing up to take part.

The MS Walk and Fun Run, the Mother’s Day Classic and the smaller Walk for Justice are just some of the events on the calendar.

The highly publicised and popular Mother’s Day Classic took place on May 8 with 120,000 participants taking part in most capital cities and 27 regional towns nation-wide.

Organised by Women in Super, a not for profit association of women, the Mother’s Day Classic has been running for 15 years, and has raised a total of $10.8 million for the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s (NBCF) research projects.

Mother’s Day Classic national chair Louise Davidson says this year’s successful events are expected to bring the total funds given to NBCF in 15 years close to $15 million.

“Since 1998, the Mother’s Day Classic has raised more than $10 million for the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s research projects,” she says.

“In this time survival rates for women diagnosed with breast cancer have increased from about 70 per cent to around 85 per cent today.”

Rachael Andrews

Rachael Andrews from Mount Barker in South Australia took part in the Classic last year and in 2010 and says she uses the event as a motivation for exercise.

“I’ll set the race as a goal and a time I want to beat and train towards that so it’s a fitness thing,” she says. “Also, it’s lots of fun running in a big group and being part of an event for charity.”

Ms Andrews raised about $300 for the event. “The Mother’s Day Classic fundraising supports breast cancer and as a female there’s a moral and emotional connection to fighting breast cancer.”

Another well-known event is The MS Walk and Fun Run taking place on Sunday in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

The goal of the events is to raise $1.1 million with the fundraising tally about $568,000 at the time of writing.

Money raised goes towards helping people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis in a range of ways including the ability to attend information sessions, fund a carer or to attend physiotherapy or counselling.

One person who will be taking part is Nic Jenks, 21, who was diagnosed with MS when she was 16. The Bacchus Marsh resident has raised $20,000 for Sunday’s event with the help of a You Tube video she made to explain to people what MS is.

As well as raising money for research and programs, organisations choose to stage these big events to raise awareness of their particular cause.

Kristan Gobbo from Melbourne took part in the Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH) Walk for Justice earlier this month to help raise awareness for improving access to justice for those that are socio-economically disadvantaged.

“It is also a show of solidarity for those in the community legal sector who work tirelessly for their clients based on principal and not the big dollars of the corporate firms,” Ms Gobbo says.

“I’ve never participated in anything like this before, and I did get a feeling of the warm and fuzzies by doing it.

“It isn’t as an appealing an issue as something like children with cancer or breast cancer but the fact that it is an issue that most people wouldn’t think important makes it all the more appealing.”

It cost Ms Gobbo $20 to sign up to do the walk and she also raised $260 to go towards PILCH for their legal services.

“It wasn’t necessary to raise money and I didn’t really aim to raise much. For me it really was more about raising awareness for the need for accessible legal services more so than raising money.”

The success of these events is evident in the increasing participation rates and the amount of money being raised.

The Walk for Justice is in its fifth year and this year’s event raised $17,000 compared to $9,000 last year.

And for charities such as the NBCF, these events are critical to help raise the funds so they can continue their work to find a cure.

“And I am confident that with more funding for the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s research we will,” Mrs Davidson says.

– By Tegan Forder

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