The last couple of months have been an absolute whirlwind for Challenge with event after event. From Cops ‘N’ Kids and the Challenge Christmas Party to the 28th Robert Allenby Golf Day and Gala Dinner, Challenge has been non-stop over November and December.
It’d be impossible to list the details of everything we have done otherwise we would be writing a 20,000-word thesis, but here is a brief recap of what you might have missed…
Sirens were sounding in early November as we departed for Ballarat with 60 Challenge kiddos to kick off our annual Cops ‘N’ Kids camp. From helicopter and police car rides to panning for gold at Sovereign Hill, our four-day adventure saw us enjoy a whole variety of exciting activities.
What’s most amazing about this camp which all started way back in 1996 is how far it has come thanks to the unwavering support of the Ballarat community. Initially a humble camp for a group of 16 children, this camp has now evolved to accommodate up to 75 people which is truly extraordinary and a testament to the dedication of everyone involved.
That same weekend also saw our Challenge mums enjoy our annual Mother’s Lunch at Yering Station – one of the jewels of Victoria’s Yarra Valley region. Food was exceptional and, as expected, the wine was of the finest quality; but the best part of the day was the chance to catch up with some familiar faces whilst also getting to know some new ones. A big thank you to Ann Rathbone and her family, who help bring this event together every year – their generosity of spirit never ceases to amaze us.
We capped off November with some early festive jingle, hosting our family-favourite Challenge Christmas Party! With more than 1,500 people in attendance, the day couldn’t have gone better – perfect weather, delicious food and amazing company, what could possibly go wrong? Absolutely nothing and it will certainly go down as one of Challenge’s highlights for the year – especially since Santa arrived with some top-notch gifts for all the kiddos too!
You would think our members would be exhausted after all the above, but there’s no time to sleep in our community and Surf Camp was up next on the Challenge agenda! Setting off bright and early Friday morning, we took the scenic drive along the Great Ocean Road to reach our destination in Lorne – the Cumberland Resort. Wasting no time inside, we quickly made our way to the beach where we plunged into the crashing waves and explored the surrounding rock pools.
Learning to surf really is a wave of emotions (mind the pun). Apprehension transforms into excitement; excitement backtracks to frustration; and then frustration eventually evolves into satisfaction – it really is a rollercoaster, but a rollercoaster worth riding. It is always incredible to see these teens go home with a renewed zest for life and willingness to put themselves out of their comfort zones, which is exactly what these camps are all about.
As you can see, it’s been an epic two months for Challenge, and this barely touches the surface as there is a lot more going on behind the scenes! Remarkably after 28 consecutive years, we welcomed back our international patron Robert Allenby for his annual golf day, which sees hundreds of people come together to raise funds for Challenge. We will share a full recap of the Robert Allenby Golf Day and Gala Dinner, but for now, we would just like to thank Rob for everything he has done for Challenge and acknowledge what a privilege it is to have him part of our community.
Thank you to all the amazing communities and volunteers, who come together to make all these events possible. Working with you all is such a privilege and a reminder of the good we as humans can do when we work together – you all know who you are, and you should be incredibly proud of the difference you have made to the lives of our families living with cancer.
The year is quickly wrapping up and we cannot wait to be back in 2020 to do it all again. Merry Christmas to all our Challenge families and we wish you a safe and happy New Year!