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by admin on July 14th, 2018

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FROM PAST EVENTS: Jemma Beech performing, with (from top right) members of Team Green, Lee’s Wolfpack, Skando and Noycie of Wests Tigers fame, the Bargo Bogans, Bec Purcell and Sharon Galway, and the 24 Hour Freckle.Did you know local kids with cancer are often getting treated here – and not in hospitals on the far side of Sydney – because of one event?

Did you know local cancer patients are being operated on with world-class medical equipment – and not having to wait until it can be borrowed from elsewhere – because of one event?

Did you know local people going through the trials and sickness of chemo are picked up and delivered to their homes – rather than having to negotiate the hassles of public transport – because of one event?

I could go on, and on.

I am, of course, talking about our own amazing and homegrown 24 Hour Fight Against Cancer Macarthur.

The main walkathon is on again – on the weekend of October 15 and 16, at Campbelltown Athletics Stadium, Leumeah – so I’d like to use my column this week to ask last-minute teams to please get registered. Especially big-hearted Camden teams.

Teams from the Nepean side of Macarthur have long been an important andwelcome ingredient of the Fight, but their numbers have fallen a bit in recent years, leaving the Fight increasingly dominated by Campbelltown and Wollondilly teams.

I suspect this is due to the impact of the Cancer Council’s Relay for Life event, now held each September at Camden Showground.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s a very worthy event and I wish it only success.But, the 24 Hour Fight is very different because every cent raised stays right here in Macarthur, helping local people.

I was horrified once to hear a Camden identity dismiss the 24 Hour Fight as “the Campbelltown event”, as if it was some sort of rivalry between the towns.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Camden Hospital is one of the key beneficiaries of the Fight, and the more Camden people who join the fight, the more money to help all Macarthurpatients treated at Campbelltown Hospital.

The Fight is very much a Macarthur event and has some great rock-solid Camden-based teams and committee members, and key supporters such as Paralympian Paul Nunnari. I just reckon it would be nice to see the big number of Camden teams return to the strength of the early years.

I’ve always held the view that The Fight is Macarthur at its best. Barry O’Farrell once told me he wished hecould “bottle” the event and export it to every corner of NSW.

No overheads, no glossy expenses, no paid staff, it is run entirely by volunteers, backed by local businesses and councils – by Macarthur, For Macarthur, In Macarthur – providing treatment “extras” not normally available.

Please get your team together and register it as soon as possible – go to website24hrfight.org419论坛for details.

It might be a team based on family, friends, business, school or sporting group.

At the big October event we always remember those we have lost to cancer, and hold a beautiful reflection ceremony at dusk on Saturday. But, otherwise, the overall mood is one of great fun: a celebration of life.

There is food, children’s activities, Aquafit classes, entertainment by local artists, raffle draws and games.

A nice spin off is that in a world of hate and polarisation, this event is one of love and unity – when young and old walk together, with rich and poor, Labor and Liberal, gay and straight, Christians and Muslims, daggy and trendy, those who are gripped by Brangelina and those who couldn’t care less.

The Fight doesn’t discriminate because cancer doesn’t discriminate.

Hope to see you there!


Tackling this bastard togetherCancer touches us all in some way.

I recall being at one 24 Hour Fight event in October 2012 and was withinspiring cancer campaigner Marie Ashton.She wanted to meet my very bravefour-year-old niece, Niamh McGarrity, who was fighting brain cancer. As we chatted, one of my dearest mates, Stephen Bomford, principal of St Peters Anglican School, arrived with his team and came across to say hello.

I remember looking at this trio and thinking what a bold line-up of cancer-fighting personalities, which any community would be proud of.Tragically, all three were dead by February 2013.

What bastard of a thing. So, on October 15-16, we again take up their fight again, for the sake of other loved ones still with us.

If you want to get involved but can’t walk for 24 hours, no worries. No one expects you to! 24 hours is how long the event lasts – from 10am on Saturday to 10am on Sunday. Some teams last the 24 hours and camp overnight, others pop in for an hour or two to enjoy the event.

I was recently chatting with Kristen Green from Aquafit and she was telling me some of the inventive and fun ways the Campbelltown Catholic Club-based team was raising cash.

If that sort of passion is again being replicated 100 different ways with 100 different teams, it truly shows the rich community of which we are a part.

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