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Inside

DECEMBER 2011

www.challenge.org.au

Dirt bike riders

rev it up at Ride 4 Kids! Find out how

you can help

fundraise for Challenge‌

Kylie & Dannii take time out with our kids

See the making of

the Biggest Aussie Pie NighT TV ad The new

Challenge family Centre is born

PLUS: Challenge teens meet Dexter, Wil Anderson, Hamish & Andy AND David Letterman on USA Trip of a Lifetime!


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Challenge Fact File ABOUT CHALLENGE… Challenge is a not for profit organisation that was established in 1983 to support kids with cancer and their families.

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n Bu ck le y We ch a t w it h Na th a

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A p a r ty li k e n o o th e r Chief Executive Officer David Rogers Editors Emma Fay Bec Waley Yvonne Dyason The Leuk Saga Mark Knight Design Spike Creative Suite 1, Level 2 132 Gwynne Street Richmond, Victoria 3121 Ph: (03) 9429 9500 Cover Image Molly Meldrum with Antonia Sanchez

Sponsors:

All donations, advertising, story contributions and editorial enquiries should be directed to the Challenge Office on (03) 9329 8474 or emailed to mail@challenge.org.au The views, opinions and advice expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and contributors, and not necessarily those of, or endorsed by, the Challenge Committee. All materials appearing in this magazine remain the property of Challenge and are not to be reproduced without the permission of the Chief Executive Officer.

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We’re on hand 365 days a year with practical services, therapies and tailored experiences to help make their cancer journey a little easier and remind them how good life can be. We aim to bring colour and relief to families’ lives as they face the pressures of a lifethreatening illness, through services such as camps, hospital support, parent retreats, celebrity meet and greets, family holidays, tickets to concerts and events and home help. We also provide iPads, gaming consoles, internet access, family activities and celebrity visits to kids undergoing hospital treatment. Challenge is committed to ensuring support is provided from the time of diagnosis, through the treatment period and beyond. Our activities promote family unity and encourage the formation of support networks, a vital component in the healing process. Inside Challenge Our magazine is a great way of keeping children, families, volunteers and members of the community up-to-date on what’s happening at Challenge. It provides us with an opportunity to: • Learn about each other • Exchange information • Share our experiences • Develop friendships • Keep our supporters and the community informed about our programs

Lit tle Em ma ge ts cre ati ve

To Help You can help Challenge in a variety of ways. You can make a donation, volunteer your time, donate goods and services, or organise an auction item for our next fundraising event. Your business can also make a difference by incorporating Challenge in any fundraising programs. You can even help just by talking about Challenge and by letting people know who we are and what we do! Donations to Challenge are tax deductible. Whether it is a donation of two dollars or twenty dollars, you can claim it on your tax. Cheques should be made payable to Challenge: a cancer support network and sent to: Challenge Challenge House 529-535 King Street West Melbourne, Victoria, 3003


3 Inside Challenge

Contents Features

What’s Inside? 14 Coming to America…

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It’s every teen’s dream to visit Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Hollywood and Universal Studios. Throw in the Grand Canyon, NASA, the Golden Gate Bridge and Las Vegas, along with helicopter flights over LA and New York, Harley rides and a session with the Harlem Gospel Choir and they have themselves the trip of a lifetime!

20 Through Adversity, Sam Lived a Life Rich and Full, Judging the World as He Saw it

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To appear in an obituary column a person must live significantly longer, discover more, or achieve something beyond the ordinary. Or perhaps, stretch life’s boundaries a little further.

22 The New Challenge Family Centre is Born Speaking with families over the years, we’ve been struck by the need for a central space where those living with cancer can come together and feel supported, from diagnosis through treatment and beyond.

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26 Biggest Aussie Pie Night’s a Wrap If ever there were an excuse to feast on a meat pie or two – this is it! Throughout August and September people from all corners of the country rallied together to support the Challenge Biggest Aussie Pie Night – a favourite event on the calendar for many of our members!

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27 The making of the Biggest Aussie Pie Night TVC...

32 Grace Howard’s Story

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My journey started on April 27th 2011, when I was diagnosed with a high grade Glioma, a malignant brain tumour on my left frontal lobe.

4 Bloke in Charge 5 Upcoming Challenge Events 6 Head2Head with Tom Gleisner 8 Hospital Happenings 10 A Minute with … Nathan Buckley 11 It’s Playtime! Activity Days 38 A Party Like No Other 39 Williamstown Boat Day 40 Movie Madness Camps 44 Junior Camp 46 Living it Up at Urban Camp 48 On a High at Hamilton! Fundraising 34 Girls’ Night Out! 36 Ride 4 Kids 41 How You Can Help 42 It’s a Family Affair at the Challenge Ball Parent Support 50 Time Out For Mums 51 Mums’ Escape to Torquay 52 Ladies Who Lunch!

WHAT’S INSIDE?

Ever wondered what it takes to make a 30-second television commercial?

Regulars

Out in the Community 53 Disney on Ice 54 Hanging Out With Kylie 55 Footy Fever

DECEMBER 2011


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Bloke in Charge Welcome to the final edition of Inside Challenge for 2011. This year has been a big year for Challenge. Being displaced from our home in King Street brought with it many complications but despite the disruptions, I’m pleased to say we got through and continued to deliver our programs and services. On page 22, you can read about the amazing transformation of Challenge House that now incorporates the Challenge Family Centre, which will allow us to develop new and worthwhile programs that will assist families into the future. While Playgroup was moved temporarily to Flemington, our regulars continued to attend. The smiles you’ll see on the playgroup kids’ faces throughout this magazine say it all and I encourage families to take advantage of these terrific sessions. You will also read about some amazing camps and experiences. To make them

happen has been tough in that everything we own was relocated in the move, but every activity went ahead without a hitch and I hope you enjoy the stories told. Our parent programs are really developing into a great resource for all who attend, as are our home help services. This year we continued our regional brunches and retreats have been extremely popular. Next year we’ll focus on delivering music and art therapy programs, massage and other counselling services. In 2011 we also celebrated 20 years of the Challenge ‘Trip of a Lifetime’. On page 14, you will read all the inside gossip and what the kids got up to. It’s an amazing experience for the kids and I’m proud it lived up to its name – Trip of a Lifetime. We’ve also worked very hard to deliver some major fundraising events which include the Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend Gala Dinner, the Challenge Ball and Biggest Aussie Pie Night all of which were a huge success and most of all, great fun. There are many people I’d like to thank. To each and every individual who

contributed to the development of the new building, to Jon Sully and the crew at BDC for having us at our temporary home in Chadstone, and to all our committee members, supporters and volunteers. I would also like to thank my staff for the outstanding contribution they have made to the life of this organisation. Micka, Sonia, Margaret, Bec, Emma, Klara, Yvonne, Jaime, Talei and Robyn have done a truly amazing job and I’m proud of them all. I hope you have had some enjoyment and fun at a Challenge activity or event this year - that is exactly what we work hard to do. And I hope that in 2012 you will make use of the new services we have available, as I know they will be of benefit to those who do. In the meantime, please keep safe, stay happy and I look forward to catching up with you and your family at a Challenge camp or activity soon. David Rogers CEO, Challenge


5 Inside Challenge

Upcoming Challenge Events February

March

4th–5th Trevor Barker Sports Camp

April

2nd–4th Water Skills Camp

Saturday 25th New Volunteer Training

12th–15th Hamilton Camp

Saturday 17th Bendigo Mums’ Lunch

21st–22nd Mums’ Relaxation Retreat

Sunday 26th Walk & Talk (Bereaved Day)

Saturday 28th Geelong Mums’ Lunch

May

June

Saturday 12th Mothers Day Lunch TBC

July

Saturday 2nd Wangaratta Mums’ Lunch

Sunday 13th New Volunteer Training

21st–22nd Mums’ Relaxation Retreat

Monday 11th Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday

18th–19th Mums’ Relaxation Retreat

16th–17th Junior Camp #1

Sunday 27th Walk & Talk (Bereaved Day)

23rd–24th Mums’ Relaxation Retreat 29th–16th July School Holidays

August 4th–5th Junior Camp #2

Sunday 12th Walk & Talk (Bereaved Day)

OCTOBER

.challenge.org.au Watch for dates on the website www

REGULARS

Saturday 11th New Volunteer Training

SEPTEMBER

18th–19th Mums’ Relaxation Retreat Saturday 25th Ballarat Mums’ Lunch

DECEMBER 2011


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Head to Head Name: Andrew Age: 10 School: Karoo Primary in Rowville, I’m in Year 4

With Tom Gleisner

Any pets? A Labrador called P.J. who doesn’t fetch but is very loyal, and Lucy the cat. My sister Hannah and I bought Lucy with our own money.

“Don’t try to fight it because it’s going to happen anyway. It will be okay.”

Favourite Subjects? Art, building stuff. Least Favourite Subject? Hospital! Hobbies? Playing Wii or X-Box, drawing, Lego, going outside with my friends when they are over. When did you first get sick? On the 16th of September last year. I didn’t have much energy when I was playing basketball and the blood test showed that I had leukemia.

Did you understand what that was? I knew it was cancer. So I went into the hospital and I had chemo and a bone marrow transplant last Easter. How do you feel about going into hospital? It’s sometimes frightening when you know you’re having a needle. But when you know what’s happening it’s a little less scary. When I’m in hospital I play on my iPod or laptop. What have you done with Challenge? My first activity was the Cops & Kids Camp. I went on a plane ride and drove in a Lamborghini. I also went to Urban Camp and we got to visit the Royal Melbourne Show. And I’m here today seeing the Smurfs movie. What advice would you give to other kids having treatment like you? Don’t try to fight it because it’s going to happen anyway. It will be okay.


7 Inside Challenge

Head to Head With Tom Gleisner

Name: Anne, Challenge Mum

“You learn to roll with the punches. Our oncologist warned us at the start that there would be a lot of waiting around.”

Tell us about your family There’s my husband Brett and daughters Chelsea who is 4 and Isla who is 2. And Cooper our Labrador-kelpie cross.

How did Isla cope with this? She didn’t get too sick. It was difficult getting her to eat, but she’s always been a fussy feeder.

And have you met other people in the hospital? Yes, and it’s really helpful to speak with other parents who have been through this and are ahead of us. In turn, we can speak to parents who are just starting out. You get to know a lot of these parents and they become your social group for a while. You can head down for coffee together while you’re waiting for blood test results. Or take coffee up to each other. The Challenge 20% coffee discount has come in very handy!

How have you found the constant hospital visits? You learn to roll with the punches. Our oncologist warned us at the start that there would be a lot of waiting around. And she was right, but the plus side is that you never feel rushed during a consultation; everyone gets the time they need.

What has been your involvement with Challenge? Today’s movie day has been Isla and Chelsea’s first outside activity. But we’ve had a lot of support in the hospital from Challenge. Whether it’s making milkshakes or playing the Barbie cupcake game. My husband Brett did the Run for Kids on behalf of Challenge and won $500 for being the best fundraiser, which he donated back to the organisation. We also hope to start Playgroup in the new year.

Does Chelsea come with you? Yes, she likes to know what’s going on so I bring her when I can. She’s also quite a good distraction for Isla.

DECEMBER 2011

REGULARS

When was Isla first diagnosed? Two days before Christmas last year. She’d been having trouble standing but x-rays revealed nothing. Eventually her pediatrician did a blood test and it revealed she had leukemia. So it was straight into the hospital where we started chemotherapy almost immediately.

How long did it take for family and friends to find out? News travelled very quickly. Chelsea was in day care so we had to ring friends to pick her up. And we had to cancel Christmas plans so our relatives soon knew what was happening. But we kept the news a little contained because we didn’t want to ruin everyone’s Christmas if we could avoid it. After we came home from hospital I sent a big group email out letting everyone know what was happening. And I now send regular email updates.


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Hospital Happenings Cooper also made several visits. He was a big hit among kids playing card games, because after 11 games of UNO he left with only one win! He also proved his talents on the field don’t necessarily extend to the kitchen – the future Mrs. Cronk had better be handy in that department is all we can say! Pizza dough recipes are there for a reason…Cooper had Benny on his side though, both agreeing that chucking a bit of this and a bit of that would do the same job. They were right, sort of.

A few of the Challenge favourites have made regular visits to the ward, including Andy Lee and Cooper Cronk.

A lot happens everyday at Challenge. A few of the Challenge favourites have made regular visits to the ward, including Andy Lee and Cooper Cronk. Before Andy headed off to make it big in the States, he dropped by and gave some career advice to Nick, talked up the mighty Blues to Stephen and of course, discussed some girlie things with Kahlia. They all had a common theme and that was to bag Hamish – good for a laugh even if it was at poor Hamish’s expense!

Hospital activities have kept everyone busy too. Volcano making and Lava Lamps were a huge success. The volcanoes were very life-like and if we could have made the lava a little hotter, the villages we had created were in for some strife! The more bi-carb soda we added, the bigger the eruption and that made for more fun…and of course more mess! The lava lamps looked very cool with the swirling oil and coloured water and once again it seemed that the most impressive lava lamp was the one that had the most reactions and explosions! The gorgeous Mollie graced the ward with her phenomenal beading skills and there were a number of mums who benefited from this activity come Mother’s Day. Jewellery seemed to be a popular choice of activity when Anne and her close friend Marilyn came to the ward to make some necklaces, bracelets and earrings with a number of the girls.


9 Inside Challenge

The kids were given thousands of different beads and the biggest problem was where to start! For the record, the completed products looked amazing and definitely would have given Tiffany a run for its money! Easter came and went as did the sore tummies from all the chocolate consumption. Food is always great fun to play with, well, to cook with anyway, and the last six months have been no different with pizzas, milkshakes, smoothies and scone recipes all on the list. A lot of trial and error made the smoothie day fun, but we got there and few complaints were heard over the slurping of the strawberry smoothie and chocolate milkshakes! A changing of the guard occurred with Kerrie now leading the Trading Faces charge on the ward. She is fantastic and of course all the parents with their sore shoulders and aching backs love her magical hands! She does wonders with a manicure too, so be sure to pop your head in next time we have a special massage and manicure day, or better still, if you come across a Trading Faces salon treat yourself to some well earned pampering!

Andy has continued to feed the hungry throngs at our parent dinners and is a huge hit with all the parents, I might add. His range of meals and side dishes cater for the fussiest of eaters, with no-one leaving on an empty stomach when he is in charge. And don’t get me started on the desserts… AMAZING! We just need to teach him that parents like butter on their rolls and we’ll have a very well oiled machine. Trampoline’s generosity hasn’t waned during the colder months and despite most kids wearing jumpers and trackies, they are more than happy to knock off a cup of Trampoline’s finest Spotty Dog or Choc Therapy ice cream! On a final note, I want to remind everyone that Challenge is here to help make things a little more fun in hospital and put a smile on your dial. If you are on the ward and would like some form of support whether it be to watch a movie, play the PlayStation, muck around on an iPad, play some cards or meet some other kids please don’t hesitate to ask Micka and he will get straight on to it!

REGULARS

DECEMBER 2011


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A Minute with... Nathan Buckley Q and A with Challenge National Patron and Collingwood Coach, Nathan Buckley What were you like as a kid? A little brat. If there was trouble to be found, I found it! How do you like to relax in your free time? My favourite relaxation is spending time with Tania and the boys in the garden. We

weed, and mow and rake and blow. It’s the most relaxing thing I can think of.  What’s your favourite movie? Braveheart is my favourite. I do have a Top 50 though. Love my movies! Where’s your favourite holiday destination? The backyard! We head to Bali as a family whenever we can, the boys love it.

Where do you keep your Brownlow medal? In a shoebox at home. I’m planning to give it to the club when the Westpac Centre is renovated. What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given? Sounds simple but time is the best gift you can give or receive. Everyone appreciates being acknowledged and it’s relatively cheap!     Why did you become a Challenge ambassador? I feel very fortunate to have enjoyed a relatively healthy circle of family and friends throughout my life and if I can help put a smile on the faces of those who don’t enjoy that same good fortune, I never hesitate to do so. What do you like to do with your kids? Potter out the back and go for rides down to the park. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome? Becoming self disciplined - it requires constant diligence and the support of loved ones to maintain. What’s your favourite football memory? When we beat Port Adelaide in the 2002 Qualifying Final. I was in the crowd injured but the boys played the most disciplined team game I’d been a part of.


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It’s Play Time! back! (Just quietly, the Challenge staff are glad we are back so they can join us for morning tea).

Our Friday Playgroup has also been very busy. We’ve had one birthday after another to celebrate, plus a visit to Myuna Farm in Doveton on the last day of term. We had a wonderful day patting the animals, having train and pony rides and enjoying a BBQ and birthday donuts. The children had a lovely time together so thank you to the staff of Myuna Farm for their generosity and hospitality on the day.

Our Monday Playgroup has had a very exciting year.

As much as we enjoyed our time there, we are extremely happy to say we are back ‘home’ at 529 King Street. Our new play room is nothing short of fantastic.  We have a beautiful, colourful room in our brilliant new building. We encourage any new family with children aged two to five to come along to Playgroup any Monday from 10-12 noon during the school term. And yes, the cappuccino machine is

We have moved to a new location! Please note our Frankston playgroup has a new address. We have moved to 39 Ebdale Street, Frankston. Melways reference 100A F4.

DECEMBER 2011

REGULARS

Throughout terms 2 and 3 we had the pleasure of operating at St Brendan’s Catholic Primary School in Flemington. Thank you so much to Peter Hayes and his school community for welcoming our families and for the lovely hospitality provided during this time. The school was so generous in donating a room for our use and also giving us access to the wonderful indoor basketball court. During our time there the children have had the privilege of using this area so their ball, skipping, hoola hoop and even elastic skills have improved. We’re not sure

who enjoyed it more, the parents or children! On one of the days we were there, we had a visit from Ronaldo from PLAYBALL who provided tips to develop our basketball and soccer skills, and what great little soccer players we have!

During the year it has been wonderful to observe the children’s drawing skills and creativity develop at the collage table. It’s also been exciting to see their friendships develop as they look forward to playing with their friends each week. Again, we welcome any new family to our Friday Playgroup held at Frankston between 10-12 noon during school terms.


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and it’s one of the only safe and happy environments for your child to play in outside the home.

Playgroup is a fantastic, warm and welcoming environment and we highly recommend it to all Challenge families with preschool aged children, writes mum, Kirsty Ellis. Our son Riley was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia on the 8th of January 2010 when he was two and a half. There is nothing that can prepare you for the moment you find out your child has cancer. There are no words to describe the absolute devastation and grief you feel at that time, and obviously our first thought was “he is going to die.” Our whole world was turned upside down and we also had a 5-month-old daughter. We were to learn quickly about

a whole new world we previously had no idea existed. When you don’t have a child with cancer you have absolutely no idea about what children with cancer or their families go through, or just how many kids have cancer. Another thing you don’t really know about are the charities that help the families at this difficult time. In the early days of our cancer journey we were introduced to Challenge. If we have found anything positive during this time it has definitely been Challenge. First we met Micka at the hospital and then after a few months we started to going to Challenge Playgroup. When your child is having treatment for cancer their immune system is very low and sometimes non existent. You are advised not to go to shopping centres or other crowded places, use public transport or let your kids play with other sick kids, which basically means you can’t do any of the things you’d normally do. At Challenge Playgroup you know everyone there is in the same situation

There are heaps of activities the kids can do. They sing songs, read books, paint, make things, play with great toys and share a yummy morning tea. Thanks to the Challenge Playgroup, we’ve also been on a couple of fantastic outings to the Zoo, the Aquarium and Disney On Ice which have been wonderful experiences we may not otherwise have had. Challenge puts a bit of normality and most importantly, a bit of fun, into the lives of children who are going through something really terrible. Through Challenge Playgroup I have met what I consider to be life-long friends – friends who just ‘get it’ and who understand what we are going through. The kids also seem to have a common bond and feel normal in this great environment. Sonia is fantastic with the kids and they all love her (she’s pretty great with us big kids too). Challenge Playgroup has definitely helped us get through some of the tough times and continues to help and support us with numerous activities that give us a break from our world within the hospital. Riley is now four years old and is about half way through his treatment which is three and a half years in total. He is going well so far and all being well, he has a positive and healthy future ahead of him when his treatment finishes.


13 Inside Challenge

Messing About at Monash The Monash Children’s Cancer Centre playroom is always a hive of activity

Challenge also provides a variety of PS2 games and DVDs. If you have a request for more DVDs while on the

A big thank you to our budding artists who either helped paint a canvas or create our owl mosaic for auction items for The Challenge Ball. The children have also been busy helping decorate the walls by adding their creative touches – and they look so much brighter for it! Please note, we now have an iPad to be used by the children at Monash so please ask Sonia should you wish to borrow it. It comes with a variety of games which will help pass the time very quickly.

DECEMBER 2011

REGULARS

Tuesday has officially become a good day to go to hospital as we cook morning tea for everyone! The children have become master chefs, baking muffins and a variety of slices. The lemon slice has been voted the favourite so far! Some weeks we’ve also indulged in cakes and slices from The Grain Bakery in Clayton. What a treat!  If you have any of your own non-baking slices please bring in the recipe for us to test.

ward, please mention it to Sonia. All the Challenge flyers are displayed in the playroom so please ask Sonia about any of our events as we would love you to attend.


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Coming to America… It’s every teen’s dream to visit Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Hollywood and Universal Studios. Throw in the Grand Canyon, NASA, the Golden Gate Bridge and Las Vegas, along with helicopter flights over LA and New York, Harley rides and a session with the Harlem Gospel Choir and they have themselves the trip of a lifetime! In June this year, eight lucky Challenge teens packed their bags for the opportunity to spend a whole month jet setting around the United States of America as part of the tenth bi-annual Challenge Trip of a Lifetime. Jordyn Curtis, Lucy Chesters, Hannah Campbell, Stacey Colebrook, Ryan Gillis, Joshua Edwards, Daniel DiCarluccio and Timothy Overton were in for an amazing adventure along with tour leaders Dave Rogers, Ceri Wood, Micka Coombes and oncology nurses Marni Cadd and Rachael Keleman. The jam-packed itinerary included LA, Las Vegas, Florida, Washington DC,

New Jersey, New York and San Francisco. The gang explored some larger-than-life amusement parks, met several celebrities, discovered that all food in the US comes extra large and with a side serve of fries, and (we think) boarded enough flights to head back to the US on frequent flyer points alone! Here are some of the highlights,

with special commentary from Stacey and Tim:

louder, we discovered we were soon in a gang of no less than sixty bikes all cruising along under the Californian sun, speeding and skidding around like rebels.

No trip to LA would be complete

without meeting a few celebs now,

would it? Actor Ray Romano graced us with his presence and Ryan was

especially thrilled to meet his hero,

Michael C Hall, on the set of Dexter. While Ryan and the other kids were happy to be shown around the set

and have a chat with the actors, a

couple of the female leaders had to restrain themselves from proposing marriage to the handsome actor.

Unfortunately for them, Hall is taken. Everyone got on well with Michael, who had lymphoma himself a few

years ago. He is such a nice guy for a serial killer! 

Los Angeles

The place where it all began! After

The crew also dined with some Aussie

was LA, the land of Hollywood glitz

house, stopping in at his pad to

a 16-hour plane ride the first stop and glamour, where among other

sites and sounds, the group enjoyed

a helicopter ride over the entire city and trips to Warner Bros studios, Rodeo Drive and Disneyland.

After a night of strutting our

stuff at the Michael Jackson

memorial while checking

out the Hollywood stars,

we all jumped onto the

backs of some smokin' Harley Davidsons. As the rumbling got

celebrities at actor Josh Lawson's

mingle with the likes of Wil Anderson, Stephanie McIntosh, Andrew Gee and

Dave Lyons from Sea Patrol. Talk about connections!

LA also revealed that Tim was

a shopaholic, Daniel was a born

performer and that everyone enjoyed singing happy birthday each night

after dinner - even when no-one was celebrating one!

So much excitement and the trip had only just begun...


15 Inside Challenge

Las Vegas

Florida

Ambassador's actual house! Kim

and amazing sights everywhere you

Queensland' as we called it - Florida,

current ambassador, invited us over

Wow, the gambling state. Bright lights turn, Las Vegas was an incredible sight to see.

No matter where you go, you can't escape it, the slot machines are

Aside from the humidity - 'America's

was a fantastic place to just sit back and relax, and who better to do it

with than Challenge's international patron, Robert Allenby.

everywhere! Underage? No problem,

We swung a few clubs on the golf

with their 'just one more' attitude at

wrong side of the road and watched

we were happy just to watch people the slot machines.

For a bit of fun on the wild side, we

course, drove our golf buggies on the one of our own get a hole-in-one

first go in the putting competition!

took a stretch hummer through the

We all felt so welcome with Rob's

perform an act which was full of

what's-mine-is-yours attitude'. He is

streets to see magician Criss Angel surprises, went on an indoor roller

coaster and also attended little Tom

(aka Dave and Ceri's 4-year-old son) and Hannah's fake wedding in a Las Vegas drive-through Chapel!

Despite the madness, the natural beauty of the state came shining through.

'eat-my-food, swim-in-my pool,

an amazing person... and a fantastic fisherman to boot. We all went for a

cruise on his three bedroom yacht for a spot of game fishing and caught

tuna and king fish, reeling with all

our might to try and get these huge fish aboard!

The day we flew over the beautiful

It didn't end there... we waited till

to Eagle Point at the Grand Canyon

country to Boggy Creek, where we put

sapphire Colorado river on our way

was unforgettable. The sheer size and beauty of one of the Seven Wonders

of the World was enough to make us

forget all about the unrelenting heat.

stepped right to the edge for pictures, thinking of our mothers' horrified

expressions back home. It was indeed

on our Southern accents, and hopped aboard an air boat to chase gators!

Some got quite close to the boat and

even jumped on the front! But with a

bat of an eye, they swam back into the

water and we made our way back with our souvenir gator teeth.

well worth the frightening walk across

Washington DC

you could see all the way down the

might drop by the Australian Embassy

the glass-floored sky platform, where rocky bottom.

Las Vegas was a new world of fun

Under normal circumstances, one to seek counsel, but we went one

better and dropped by the Australian

for a traditional Aussie afternoon tea of party pies and sauce... and what a great afternoon it was.

Kim explained his role and told us a little about life in DC. One

interesting fact we learnt was that the only grass tennis court that

can be found in Washington DC is at the Ambassador's house, which

costs $60,000 a year to maintain

and keep green! Another thing we

learnt was that the house we were in was once General Patton's house (a

legendary US army general), however, the Australians took it over in 1941

when he was commanding his troops. Finders keepers, we say!

The residence was impressive, and

considering the amount of work on

an ambassador's plate, we were chuffed Kim made some time for us. We said

our goodbyes and went to pay a visit

to Mr. Obama's little White House in the middle of DC. Sadly, the open door policy like that of the Australian

Embassy, hasn't been embraced here, just yet!

New Jersey

New Jersey was great place to unwind and relax before descending on the

city that never sleeps. The pure white sand and crystal blue waves sent us

to heaven and we just chilled out for a few days. While there, we went on

all the rides at Seaside Heights trying

and adventure.

DECEMBER 2011

FEATURE

The view was simply breathtaking as we

dusk to go for a drive into the

Beazley, former opposition leader and


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to win the big prizes at the arcades,

Day 25 - Baseball, New York

fire station, tried on some of the gear,

a giant Jamaican banana (though, it

to America must do, it's go to the

got to sit in their trucks. A lucky few

including a UCLA college jacket and was so big it would have needed its

own seat on the plane so we decided

to leave it behind). According to some tourists, the most important thing to

do in Jersey was get a henna tattoo. So most of us did! Sorry Mum... Day 22 - New York City

This was a major highlight with the beautifully-lit Times Square, a bike ride through Central Park and a

visit to Madagascar Zoo in Central Park! We also had the pleasure of

experiencing Broadway, which was an

amazing night. We saw Brooke Shields staring in the Addams family, and

what an amazing musical that was... very funny.

If our bags weren't already full,

If there is one thing that every tourist baseball. We almost lost our way to

the stadium as our bus driver couldn't find the right roads and the GPS had decided that it would rather us visit an old lady who had just returned from her grocery shopping. After

reluctantly asking directions from our shopping lady friend we arrived at

the stadium. We entered in VIP style,

receiving customary bobble-head dolls

which can weigh up to 60 pounds, and had a fun time 'cleaning' one of the

fire fighter's cars with the hoses they use and boy, do they pack a punch

full of water! After one of the best

meals we had on the whole trip, which just happened to be a good old BBQ, we played some hoops with some

of the fighters. It was a day I won't forget in a hurry.

and lanyards in which to hold our

Last Day - San Francisco

the field to watch the Cardinals warm

San Francisco, a very cool place

precious tickets before being invited on up. Baseball is very different to AFL,

in that the sport itself isn't the fun bit, the commentators and voiceovers are,

particularly when the 'kiss-cam' comes

up on an elderly couple! We were there to support the Mets and we did so in

The final stop on the trip was

indeed. A highlight for many was

swimming with dolphins in the Six

Flags Discovery Kingdom and enjoying the natural beauty San Fran has to

offer, including Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli Square.

they were exploding now. After all the shopping at Macy's we visited

Serendipity where we had the famous

frozen hot chocolate... before dinner! And there was one extra seat at each table which left us confused... until

Hamish and Andy rocked up! We all

got on so well, telling jokes, listening to stories and laughing 'til we cried. Day 23 - Phantom of the Opera, New York

Phantom of the Opera, the longest

running show in Broadway history,

is a must-see when in New York, and when else to do it than on a Trip of a Lifetime? For many of us, it was

our first time on Broadway. The show was one of the most moving and

spectacular shows I have ever seen in my life. The cast, band and sets were

good old Aussie spirit by giving all the

The steep hills and the beautiful

of some of the actors was just mind

thought suited them better. Having

were also amazing sights to see.

just stunning and the vocal power

blowing. But where do you begin to

describe one of the most renowned musicals of all time? The amazing

atmosphere, the feeling you get when

the actress playing Christine hits that

super high note, or the moment you're

players and umpires names which we been given personalised baseball

jerseys with our choice of name and number we returned back to another stunning hotel, slightly quicker than our trip there.

so blown away you just sit back in

Day 26 - Fire Department, New York

has to be the latter!

experience of meeting with some

your seat unable to speak? I believe it

While in New York we also had the of the most legendary servicemen

the world has known from the Fire

Department of New York (FDNY). These were the guys who helped fight the

blazes of 9-11. We met them at their

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco After a fun ride around the city on an open double-decker bus, we had lunch and mocktails at the Hard

Rock CafĂŠ. We went for a ferry boat ride past the Alcatraz which looked really interesting and was crawling with ancient crimes and artefacts.

There was also some time in San Fran to do a quick spot of shopping and

pampering before the big flight home.

Wow, there is no other way to describe our journey around America.

It was nothing less than 'the trip of a lifetime.'


17

Los Angeles: 25 – 30 June Venus Beach Hollywood Boul evard Rodeo Drive

Harley bike rid es in Santa Mon ica Disneyland Visit the set of Dexter and mee t and greet with Michael C Hall Six Flags Magic Mountain Helicopter ride over LA Warner Bros St udio Tour Meet and greet with Ray Roman o Dinner with Jo sh Lawson, Wil Anderson, Step McIntosh, Andr hanie ew Gee and Da ve Lyons Las Vegas: 30 June – 3 July Amazing flying fox ride in Boul der City Criss Angel ‘Beli eve’ show Grand Canyon Tour nament of the Kings show Shopping! Palm Beach, Fl orida: 3 – 7 Ju ly 4 days with Ro bert Allenby Fishing and crui sing the waves on Rob’s Boat, the sun and be enjoying ach Hanging out an d relaxing Orlando, Florid a: 7 – 9 July Disney World

Washington DC : 10 – 13 July Meet and greet with other teena gers with cancer The Spy Museu m Lessons in Amer ican history – vis its to key monum ents After noon tea wi th Australian Am bassador, Kim at his home Beazley The Smithsonian Museum New Jersey: 13 – 16 July The Boardwalk Water parks Carnival rides The beach! Crabbing New York: 16 – 22 July Soho, Little Ita ly, China town The Harlem Go spel Choir Guided bike rid e tour around Ce ntral Park Dinner with Ha mish & Andy

Broadway Show – Addams Fam ily/Phantom of the Opera Helicopter ride over NYC New York Polic e Department Boat ride down Hudson River Baseball game featuring the Ne w York METS New York Fire De partment The David Lette rman Show San Francisco: 22 – 26 July The Six Flags Di scovery Kingdo m- swimming wi th dolphins

China Town Alcatraz

FEATURE

Airbor ne on the water planes ch ecking out alliga tors Universal Stud ios Harry Potter Wo rld

Inside Challenge

I t i n e r a ry

Ghirardelli Squa re (famous for its chocolate) Lombard St (cr ooked street) Pier 39 Fisher man’s W harf Cable Car rides Shopping!

DECEMBER 2011


18

Highlights from the group Stacey Colebrook: Swimming with the dolphins at Six Flags in San Francisco was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had and truly the highlight of my trip. We first went to dolphin school before taking the plunge with ‘Terry’, ‘Sandy’ and ‘Maverick’. They were so gentle and fun, and their skin was as smooth as pebbles ... we even got to give them a little peck on the cheek! When I kissed Maverick, he rolled over and I saw him blush!

Tim Overton: As far as I’m concerned, Harry Potter World was the absolute cornerstone of brilliance in an already stunning trip. When you first walk through the gates, which just so happen to be the gates to Hogwarts itself, the magic begins. The atmosphere of people walking around in their newly bought scarves and playing with their wands is just amazing. There is a perfect replica of the Hogwarts train, Derbish and Bangs, your one stop joke shop, as well as Honeydukes where you can buy all of your favourite Harry Potter candies. Dotted throughout are butter beer and pumpkin juice stalls… the perfect thing to refresh a bunch of tired teens in the 34 degree heat. The rides were also a massive highlight - so fast and so incredible! It was one of the most memorable days of my life!

Lucy Chesters: My birthday in Orlando was the highlight for me! I was on the other side of the world with people I hadn’t known for long but it was such an awesome few days. Everyone made it extra special and especially turning 18 it will be something I’ll never forget. As it was the middle of summer in America it was of course very hot, which is something I’ll never experience on my birthday back home as it’s usually freezing in July! I also loved New York. The atmosphere was something I have never seen before. I was so overwhelmed with the whole city, especially Times Square!

Joshua Edwards: I had so many highlights on the trip so it’s hard for me to pick just one!  I loved the Harley Davidson ride, the helicopter rides over LA and New York, and dinner with Hamish & Andy, but I think my absolute favourite time was at Palm Beach with Robert Allenby.  It was just awesome to just hang out and relax with Robert at his home, on his boat deep sea fishing and of course, having a casual hit of golf with such a pro golfer. He was such a down-to-earth guy and was so easy to talk to and spend time with - this is a memory I will never forget!

Daniel DiCarluccio: My favourite memory would have to be when we all went tuna fishing with Robert Allenby on his massive yacht. Josh and I caught six big tuna each! I also enjoyed our time at the yacht club and when we were able to drive the boats, go fishing and pretty much do whatever we liked all day!


19 Inside Challenge

Jordyn Curtis: The very best parts for me were the magnificent expansive rocky cliffs and views of the Grand Canyon; the carnival atmosphere of the Jersey Boardwalk; the seven floors of Tiffany’s, New York (with one floor dedicated to engagement rings!); the exhilaration of riding and swimming with the dolphins at Six Flags, shopping shopping and shopping and of course, eating hamburgers with American mustard!

Hannah Campbell: My favourite places were Las Vegas and New York. I also loved seeing the Grand Canyon and have to say, ‘grand’ is an understatement! New York was just as I’d seen it in the movies; I couldn’t believe that I was actually there. Some other highlights of the trip were swimming with dolphins in San Francisco, meeting Hamish and Andy, the massive roller coasters at Six Flags, and (what can I say?) shopping!

Ryan Gillis: Take me home

FEATURE

to the ball park! We were off to the baseball after a warm day in New York. With only some minor detours, we eventually made it to Citi Field, the home of the mighty New York Mets! After a lot of heckling and cheering, some nice new jerseys thanks to Challenge and a Mets win, we all left very happy!

DECEMBER 2011


20

Through Adversity, Sam Lived a Life Rich and Full, Judging the World as He Saw it By Morag Zwartz

To appear in an obituary column a person must live significantly longer, discover more, or achieve something beyond the ordinary. Or perhaps, stretch life’s boundaries a little further. This might explain how Samuel, also known as Sam and Sammy, Zwartz, a 17-year-old who didn’t finish school and won no significant medals for achievement, managed to impact so many people memorably and leave many beyond his family bereft at his passing. Sam, who died at home in Ferntree Gully, had two distinct claims to fame: his chromosomes and his cancer, namely Trisomy 21 and ALL — acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. That made him the beneficiary of huge amounts of largesse in the disability and medical fields. In many ways his life is testimony to the preciousness of a society committed to the well-being of the disabled, as well as to a national health system and ongoing medical research.

His life also reminds us that society is richer, not poorer, for having the disabled among us, as Sam so often drew from people their most attractive qualities. As a child with Down syndrome, Sam (pictured with his parents) benefitted

from gifted special needs teachers whose wisdom and patience was immeasurable as well as affirming. He thrived in the intimate and protective environment of the special school — a place where he was normal, and could excel.


21 Inside Challenge

But Sam’s school life was interrupted frequently over the years by his recurring leukaemia, to the extent that 9 and a half of his 17 years were lived under the burden of chemotherapy. First diagnosed at age two, Sam was treated in the Children’s Cancer Centre at Monash Medical Centre by the brilliant paediatric oncologist and haematologist Peter Downie, who wrestled him back from the brink over and over again, the two creating records for longest standing patient and survival of the greatest number of relapses.

Sam rewarded his “Dr Peter” with deep affection and unflinching trust, never resenting him for the pain and unpleasantness of his many treatments. He surely could not have had better treatment anywhere in the world, nor a more caring and competent doctor. From the toddler who had to be held down for painful procedures, Sam

Over the years of his cohabitation with cancer Sam endured many chemotherapy drugs as well as significant quantities of IV and oral antibiotics and a score of other medicines to support him through the side-effects of his treatment. He had many general anaesthetics for lumbar punctures or bone marrow tests and three central venous lines. He also received litres of blood and platelets — particularly in his final weeks — for which his family is deeply grateful to those who donate blood. Sam was alive for years because of their generosity. Despite his love affair with the staff in the cancer centre, Sam was not satisfied with oncology alone, and required the skills and services of a dozen other departments over the years. Such was his exuberance and vitality, he saw many of his hospital visits as another social opportunity. Interchange Outer East (for children with a disability), and the cancer support organisations including

Challenge, all made enormous contributions to Sam’s life and happiness — in particular, camps and holidays. Even with his suffering, Sam had a happy, joyful life. His delight in simple pleasures always enhancing one’s own, and his wit often catching one unawares. He lived often in a wonderful, enviable world of his own creation as he chatted, giggled, scolded and argued, yelled, laughed hilariously, chased, and shared private jokes with his invisible friends — utterly unselfconsciously — just as he did his own debriefing when he was young, acting out Dr Sam on his family or teddies. Perhaps Sam’s greatest gifts to those who shared his life are his example of living in and for the moment — he did not lie awake at night agonising over the next manoeuvre of Leuk and his army of cancer cells — and his capacity to liberate those around him to be a little crazy, to see the world as he saw it, and to care a lot less about what others might think. In these and many other ways, Sam was a wonderful teacher. He is survived by his parents, Morag and Barney, and siblings Alex, Tristan, Athalia, Micaiah and Nathaniel. Morag Zwartz is Sam’s mother.

DECEMBER 2011

FEATURE

In the process, Dr Downie exhausted the normal childhood leukaemia protocols and relapse protocols, and created his own death-defying regime, keeping Sam going with a good quality of life — he was last at school nine days before he died — long after the leukaemia proved to be intractable and incurable.

matured into a young man who accepted or loved most of his doctors and nurses and rarely resisted their intrusions. If they took time to connect with him and explain their intentions, he allowed their seemingly endless assaults.


22

The New Challenge Family Centre is Born … With contribution from Tom Gleisner

Speaking with families over the years, we’ve been struck by the need for a central space where those living with cancer can come together and feel supported, from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. One thing they were all clear on: this space couldn’t be at the hospital. That’s where they go for their medical needs, but outside of that they’d rather be somewhere else. And so began the planning to build something that would cater for our members’ needs. It would be the first of its kind in Australia and aptly named the Challenge Family Centre.

November marked a very exciting milestone in the 28-year history of Challenge … the completion of the building. When the Centre is fully operational next year, our families will have access to a range of services and therapies including information seminars and counselling, art and music therapy, massage therapy and play groups. The aim of the Centre is to provide a central, non-threatening space for families living with cancer to come together and feel completely supported

from the time of diagnosis, through the treatment period and beyond. It will act as a place where their non-medical needs can be met, which may vary from stress management and financial assistance to simply talking to someone they can trust about what is happening in their lives. The Centre will also feature a resource library with a whole range of cancerrelated information. Everything from what government assistance is available to families with a sick child, through to ‘How to Write a Blog’ (an amazingly effective way for parents to let their friends know what’s going on without making 300 phone calls). Other features include two massage rooms, designated spaces for music and art therapy, the Challenge offices, the ‘Allenby Room’, our fabulous new boardroom named in honour of our international patron Robert Allenby, a café and two separate areas for children. The ‘playroom’ runs regular play groups and craft lessons and is decorated in vibrant colours with toys, books, and a movie and painting area. The ‘multipurpose room’ has been designed for older children and offers iPads, an Xbox, a Playstation, and a movie and reading space. It will be used for seminars, presentations and large group discussions, as well as activities like bingo and poker nights.


23 Inside Challenge

We’re incredibly proud of our new Centre – we know it’s going to be such an important asset for families dealing with cancer. We would like to sincerely thank all those involved in the design, construction and funding of the new space.

The Challenge Family Centre was officially opened at a special media event on Monday 14 November. Robert Allenby, Challenge chairman Tom Gleisner, board member Todd Woodbridge and young Challenge member, Bryce Gathercole were all involved in the official proceedings.

DECEMBER 2011


24

In particular, we’d like to thank: • The architects, Solutionswon – Dean Coleman, Ken Jolly • The project managers and builders, One68 – Rodney Clarke, Kent Waring, Mitchell Waring, Lauren Scott • Craig Gathercole for his extensive involvement and support on the project • Long term supporters AG Coombs – Russell Telford • Dick Gray and the AWU for its long term financial support • Greg Jinks from KLM for the electrical work

• Jarrod Lyle who donated funds for the massage rooms, and Robert Allenby for his donation for the Boardroom • The Scaffidi Foundation, which gave $20K for the Family Room at the back of the Centre.   • The Victorian State Government (and the then Health Minister Daniel Andrews) which gave us a grant of $300,000 towards the Centre’s development. And finally, the Challenge Chief Executive Officer, David Rogers. It was Dave’s dream, Dave’s drive and his single-minded determination to turn this project into a reality, that has led us to this moment.

We talk to some of the people who helped make it happen… Challenge Dad, Craig Gathercole: Our son Thomas was going through the Challenge program when David, knowing I worked in construction, approached me for some industry contacts and advice about how to go about building a new space for families. I offered to get involved and support in an advisory role, assisting with whatever was required and ensuring the grand vision came to fruition. Dave and I met regularly to discuss concepts and it didn’t take long for his passion and enthusiasm to rub off on me. Eight years on, I’m proud to say children and families that are going through the most difficult times now have a comfortable, purpose-built facility to use and enjoy while they are on the programme. To have Dave and the entire Challenge team there to support them is comforting.


25 Inside Challenge

There are many subcontractors and suppliers that have contributed to this development and I take my hat off to them for supporting such a great cause. Solutionswon, Dean Coleman: Solutionswon Group’s charity support focuses on those organisations which our employees are passionate about, and where we believe we can make a difference. SolutionsWon Group was thrilled to be part of the redesign of Challenge House, a charity we proudly support.

One68, Rod Clarke: Mitch, Kent and I have known Dave for many years. When Dave approached us with his ideas on creating a new state-ofthe-art Family Centre, we were only too happy to help.

A.G Coombs, Russell Telford: Challenge approached A.G. Coombs as a long-standing supporter to assist in the redevelopment of its headquarters and Family Centre located in West Melbourne.

We introduced Dave to Solutionswon which began the design process for the new Centre. This process took some time, but eventually the plans were finalised.

Seven years ago, we took on a similar project for Challenge, providing new air conditioning systems and undertaking an upgrade of other systems at the same site. This year’s project, with an equivalent value of $180,000 saw the A.G. Coombs team delivering complimentary design and construction services to the Challenge building, with voluntary assistance from our employees, suppliers and specialist contractors.

From there we engaged our contractors and suppliers and asked them to assist us in building this new facility.

Throughout the design process, we worked closely with David Rogers and his staff to create an environment which is not only welcoming, soothing and supportive, but that also enables Challenge to provide the multitude of services it offers and will offer its clients in the future.

While there were challenges along the way, the support we received from our contractors and suppliers has been incredible. Not only did they donate their time and services, but they spoke to their customers and suppliers and told them what we were doing. It’s amazing to see people put their hand up for a good cause…

We continue to put our resources behind the Challenge Family Centre, to help deliver their vision.

We believe the project has been a huge success and we thank Dave and all the staff at Challenge for allowing us to be a part of it.

Challenge is our Foundation Charity and as such we have been a big supporter of its projects over the years and it is a pleasure to support the organisation by doing what we do best: designing, supplying, installing and maintaining premium-grade building services for the life of the building.

DECEMBER 2011


26

Biggest Aussie Pie Night’s a Wrap!

Gary and Claire Closter became involved with Challenge when their daughter, Andrea, was diagnosed with cancer in 1996. While Andrea unfortunately passed away, aged 16, three years later, the Closters keep her memory alive by holding fundraising events for Challenge. “This year’s pie lunch saw over 150 members of the Bacchus Marsh community gather at the local community hall for an afternoon of yabby races, pie eating competitions and coin tossing for highly sought after prizes…did anyone mention Baileys? A huge thanks to our great friends and co-hosts Mark and Calli Johnson, who lost their daughter, Maddy, to cancer for their help organising the day.” Carol Arklay got involved with Challenge around the same time as the Closters. A good friend of Gary and Claire’s, she began hosting fundraising events for Challenge shortly after their daughter was diagnosed, and has been a Challenge volunteer for over eight years.

If ever there were an excuse to feast on a meat pie or two – this is it! Throughout August and September people from all corners of the country rallied together to support the Challenge Biggest Aussie Pie Night – a favourite event on the calendar for many of our members! Our pie night hosts set themselves to task, inviting friends, family and colleagues into their homes and offices to have a pie and share a story or a laugh, while inventing creative ways to raise funds … pie eating competition, anyone? An exciting addition to this year’s campaign was our Nissan Navara competition, which saw our pie hosts taking a stab at the number of Four‘N Twenty pies we’d stashed in the back of the tray, the winner taking home the car! A massive congratulations to Lee Newton from Kellyville/Rouse Hill Magpies Club in NSW for guessing 1824 pies and a big thanks for Nissan for donating the car. Now, what to do with all those pies…

Round 22 of the AFL was a great way for people who couldn’t hold pie nights to get behind the campaign by buying a pie and a coke at the footy! Four’N Twenty and Coke-Zero each donated $1 from ever pie and Coke sold at games, and saw over 25,000 people buy pies during that weekend – wow! A huge thanks to all our sponsors for amazing support this year - Four’N Twenty, Coca-Cola, Nissan and Heinz. And of course, to all our pie night hosts…a huge thank you. This year we registered a record number of pie nights, so here’s to an even bigger year in 2012!

“I organised this year’s pie night at the Thomson Football Club in Geelong, with highlights including a handball competition and a silent auction with items such as a night at Crown Plaza in Torquay and two nights in a deluxe cabin at Port Arlington. It was about five months of planning so I was thrilled it was such a success! Rohan Waters’ son Joel was diagnosed with cancer as a toddler and underwent treatment for three years. Now aged eight, Joel is healthy, but Rohan still likes to give back to Challenge, recalling how Challenge would cheer up Joel up on his sickest days with games and activities at the hospital. Rohan’s pie night raised over $33,000 for Challenge.


27 Inside Challenge

“Challenge was really good and still is great; they make things a lot easier. I really want to acknowledge my employer, D&E Air conditioning, which matched every dollar we raised on the night, helping us achieve the impressive amount we raised.” Andrew Farrugia: The Farrugias got right into the footy spirit this year, holding their pie night on grand final eve and rustling up some great prizes to auction off, including a framed Richmond jersey signed by every player, a football signed by the Geelong players and two nights’ accommodation at Lakes Entrance.

The making of the Biggest Aussie Pie Night TVC...

“We managed to motivate the whole community to get involved! CBA paid for the trivia host, the local supermarket donated gift cards, the fish and chip shop provided soft drinks and a real-estate agent ran the auction. It’s our four-year-old daughter Isabella, now in remission from cancer, who inspired our event.”

Ever wondered what it takes to make a 30-second television commercial?

A pie night with a difference! Challenge would like to make special mention of Sophie Ward’s contribution to the Biggest Aussie Pie Night. An avid baker, Sophie decided to whip up a selection of cakes instead of pies … and we don’t just mean a few cupcakes! We’re talking enough to feed an army! Sophie took the cakes to work and not surprisingly, her workmates ate each and every one in return for a small donation…

Well, we can tell you it takes one and a half days of shooting in a fluoro green studio, a lawn bowls team, two policemen, six firemen (and one fire woman!), four St Kilda footballers, a group of mums and their kids, a make-up artist, a hairdresser, a few celebrities … not to mention an incredibly talented production crew, director and script writer!

This year’s Biggest Aussie Pie Night TV ad, featuring the (somewhat repetitive) tagline “I’m having one”, was aired nationally on all major TV networks and regional stations. If you missed it, feel free to contact us and we’ll send you a copy! Special thanks to Molly Meldrum, Billy Brownless, the St Kilda football players and Emma Mathers, who featured in the ad. We’d also like to acknowledge Tom Gleisner, the crew at Creativa Studios and Sam Strunin and his talented team at Creative Solutions for working tirelessly to help notch up our five minutes of fame!

v DECEMBER 2011


28

th es e? D o w e lo ok si ll y in

Angels – inside and out!

No n e e d fo r u m b r e ll a s

You will come back, won’t you?

H a vin g a b a ll !

A cuddle with Klara

We ch a t w

m on d s C u tt in g lo os e a t Dia

Ha ng ing on for de ar life! Tr u st m e , I k n o w a ll th e a c ti o n s

De mo ns sta rs ge t on bo ar d wi th Big ge st Au ssi e Pie Nig ht

C u te a s a button

Robert and our kids


29

h e r e .. .

ke d on u ts li ke M a n , th ey d on’t m ad to! th ey u se

Jordyn meets Morgan on the set of Neighbours

y w it h Na thRayna nBumckixlee s it w it h D e x te r in A m e r ic a

er yt hi n g Rob er t ta u g ht u s ev w e kn ow

I’m a n a tu r a l

od a n d Da ve G oo d m a te s .. . J a rr

Pu tt in g m y fe e t u p a t To r q uay

Filling in for David Letterman

l to u ch es J u st a d d in g th e fi na My new best friends


30

Fa m il y C en tr e Th e op en in g of th e

It ’s a lo n g Hanging with Dannii

Nearly as cute as me!

Ju s t h a n g in g a r o u n d .. . g e t it ?

Hey, hey your car is on fire!

g oo d ! I p ro m is e I’m be in g Ste ad y as sh e go es. .. Th e Vic P o li c e a r e h a vi n g o n e !

We ha ve tw o wo rd s for yo u, Flo rid a

Pa r t y t i me at D iamond s

Out on a Playgroup excursion


31

wa y d o o o w n !

co n tr ol , g u ys I’v e g ot th is u n d er

Ro b e r t A ll e n b y shows us h ow it ’s d o n e

Don’t mind me while I take a quick nap

P r e tt y im p r e ssed w m y e ff o r ts ! it h

Jordyn makes a new friend

p ic tu r e P r e tt y a s a

fa n a t a Da n e S wa n w it h a N ig ht Big g es t A u ss ie P ie

Beats getting the school bus

y w hi te s Fl a sh u s yo u r p ea rl

Oh my god, h ow embarass in g !

m y li tt le I ca n’t wa it to si n k is ! te et h in to th


32

My Story G’day my name is Grace and I am 11 years old. My journey started on April 27th 2011, when I was diagnosed with a high grade Glioma. This is a malignant brain tumour on my left frontal lobe. I went for a simple eye test and was sent to have an MRI there and then. When the results came back the doctors said I was to have an operation on the 30th of April to take out what they could of the tumour.

By Grace Howard

I also had a small spot on my right frontal lobe. It was a lot to understand. They shaved my hair off on the left side. I didn’t like that. I stayed in hospital for a week after the operation, then come home to my family in the country. I then had to start radiation two weeks later at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. This took six weeks and I had to go in every day. I got used to it but it wasn’t fun, although the staff were fantastic. I also had to have chemotherapy every day in capsule form and Mum was able to give it to me while we stayed at Ronald McDonald House. It’s a great place and I made lots of friends. My

Dad and brothers travelled down to see us every week. I did miss school and my friends though. My friend Nell sent me emails every day to let me know what was going on at school. I made a PowerPoint presentation for my class so they could understand my journey and what was happening to me. Now they understand a little more about cancer and what I’ve been going through. My appearance has changed, I have a nasal gastric tube which I call Fred and my hair is trying to grow back, but only in some places. This makes fitting into a country school a little bit hard. I have a great teacher named Clare and she makes coping a lot easier.


33 Inside Challenge

I have seen lots of different people at the Royal Children’s Hospital, including the oncology doctors, surgeons, eye clinicians, dietitian, teachers and lots more. These trips make me very tired as we have to travel about three hours for all these appointments. For the next six to 12 months I’ll still have chemo every day for one week each month.

“I want to thank Challenge and their staff for giving me the most simple thing in life, and that’s how to keep smiling.”

Throughout my journey, I’ve had lots of fun meeting new people. I met Micka from Challenge and he gave me lots of information about all the great things Challenge do for children with cancer and their families. I went on the best camp! It was called the Urban Camp and we went to the show, slept at the Museum, travelled to Phillip Island and lots, lots more. Challenge has really helped me and my family. By going on camp I have realised that I may face some hard things in my life but there is always someone else out there going through the same kind of troubles, some even worse. I want to thank Challenge and their staff for giving me the most simple thing in life, and that’s how to keep smiling.

DECEMBER 2011


34

Girls’ Night Out! The Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend Gala Dinner once again proved to be a huge hit with Challenge ladies and their mums and girlfriends who spent a night at Crown Palladium to gossip, spend, and dance the night away!

For most, the night began with a ‘champers’ in hand, sipping away as the fantastic make-up artists from Napolean Perdis, hair stylists from Masci Hair and Spa and manicurists from Martinis Manicures and Massages, treated them to a touch up. Once spruced, it was time for the party to really begin! The ladies mingled their way around the Palladium foyer while enjoying all on offer, from the silent auction and diamond draw, to a little bit of eye candy (male waiters scantily clad in the newest ‘Way Funky Company’ swimwear designs), as well as the opportunity to purchase one of the beautiful personalised toy

boxes, kindly donated by Punchinello (one of which would bear the black diamond…). Following a drink or two in the foyer, the ladies were seated and greeted by the stunning Channel 7 TV journalist, Mia Greaves, our gracious MC for the night. Her first announcement was a treat for the ladies in the form of an act by the ‘Burlesque Hour’, in keeping with the Burlesque-inspired theme. The act certainly got tongues wagging, and with a few ‘left of centre’ tricks up their sleeves, the talented performers managed to capture the attention of many of our guests. The evening’s formalities began with the allocation of table captains for each table, each of whom won themselves a Sleepy Bubs Massage Oil kindly donated by Milk Baby. After a bite to eat, and with the noise and ‘chatter’ levels in the room slowly rising, The Velvet Corporation – everyone’s favourite cover band – pumped out their first set for the evening, having most ladies out of their seat. However, it was still only early days, and after one set, everyone was seated for a moving speech by event sponsor, Bed Bath N’ Table’s CEO Jonathon Dempsey. Jonathan was followed by Anna Higgins, Chairwoman of the Diamonds Committee, who left not a dry eye in the house with her touching speech about her involvement with Challenge and the impact the organisation has had on her life.


35 Inside Challenge

N’ Table for their continued support. We’d also like to make special mention of Shoot the Moon who were of great assistance with centrepieces for the night, and all the other sponsors and supporters who made a donation to the evening – the night could never be the success it is without your support.

A video presentation followed, which was put together by Challenge, and featured a couple of Challenge mums and one of their daughters. The presentation gave guests an insight into the work Challenge does and where some of the money raised from the evening would be spent. It also provided them with an idea of the experiences many Challenge families face. With the speeches out of the way, auctioneer Danielle Martin took to the stage to host the main auction, which included a number of amazing prizes including a health retreat for two, a trip to the Kimberley’s, and a meet and greet with Dannii Minogue prior to the filming of Australia’s Got Talent.

The major raffle draw followed, with a gorgeous diamond necklace donated by Melbourne Diamond Importers, as well as a black diamond for the lady who purchased the ‘lucky’ Punchinello box. While this left a few ladies disheartened, it had two very happy ladies jumping for joy as they accepted their prizes…not bad for a night out! Challenge would like to thank the major sponsors of the Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend Gala Dinner – Crown, Staging Connections and Bed Bath

DECEMBER 2011


36

Dirt Bike Riders Rev it up at Ride 4 Kids! Motocross and enduro riders across Victoria were treated to an awesome day of riding, not to mention a brilliant day of sunshine at this year’s 10th annual Ride 4 Kids, held late October at the Victorian State Motorcycle Sports Complex in Broadford. Ride4Kids brings together the dirt bike community for the biggest motorcycling charity event in the country while also raising vital funds for Challenge.

“Meeting families who’ve lost children from cancer tears my heart out and I want to do all I can to raise as much money as possible for Challenge.”

Participants ride in either Motocross or Enduro events with sessions taking place throughout the day, starting with the 50cc juniors through to the open class of thumping 450 big bores.

Challenge was thrilled to have on board as event ambassador recently retired Factory KTM road racing champion, Shannon Johnson, who got right behind the event. “Meeting families who’ve lost children from cancer tears my heart out and I want to do all I can to raise as much money as possible for Challenge. The emphasis of Ride4Kids is on having fun. All sessions are an open practice format with no actual racing on the day so people of all ages and abilities can get involved,” Shannon said.

Some of Australia’s biggest-name pro riders, including Matt Moss, Ryan Marmont and Brendan Harrison also came along and wowed the crowd with an exhibition round, while also treating some of our kids to a ride round the track on the back of their bikes! The highest fundraisers from each of the combined motorcycle classes were rewarded with some great prizes from event sponsors with the overall highest fundraiser walking away with a 2012 KTM 350EXCF thanks to KTM Australia, valued at $13,500. In addition, all riders who raised over $100 online received a free KTM Ride 4 Kids t-shirt.


37 Inside Challenge

What he doesn't know won't hurt him.

Congratulations to all our winners, which were as follows: Class

Winners

Amount Raised

Highest overall and 50cc

Cooper Humm

$10,175

50cc - 2nd place

Zoe Robertson

$280

13yo and under – 1st prize

Jack Middleton

$5,620

13yo and under – 2nd prize

Bryce Gathercole

$2592

13yo and under – 3rd prize

Ryan Doyle

$454

13yo to 16yo – 1st prize

Oscar Manning

$2560

13yo to 16yo – 2nd prize

Matt Horwood

$1022

Novice & Open All Powers – 1st prize

Kurt Davis

$1609

Novice & Open All Powers – 2nd prize

Robert Craig

$1066

Novice & Open All Powers – 3rd prize

Brad Simcox

$470

DECEMBER 2011


38

A Party Like No Other … The annual Challenge Slumber Party, held this year in June, was a 12-hour whirlwind of excitement for kids with cancer and their siblings, transforming the Grand Ballroom at Hilton on the Park into a wonderland for kids! 350 children aged 7 to 16 had fun with play stations, jumping castles, dance machines, pool tables and every other electronic game imaginable. There was face painting, a roving magician, board games, endless supplies of food and drink, plus a movie room with a giant screen, mountains of popcorn and enough bean bags to seat an army. Antonia Sanchez was there and shares her story… My sister and I arrived at the Hilton Hotel about 7 o’clock. It was amazing to see the grand ballroom for the first time. I’ve heard it is the oldest in Melbourne! Sonia greeted us and showed us where to put our bags. She spoke with my mum and dad about the night ahead and about past years’ slumber party experiences. Secretly I think mum and dad were going to miss us for the evening. There were already heaps of kids with their siblings or with their parents getting into the spirit of things. Most were already in lines waiting for tattoos and face painting! Not long after

we arrived the famous Dannii Minogue came by to say hello to everyone – it was so exciting! My older sister Andrea and I went to wait in line for a picture and autograph. I was so happy when it was my turn; she was extremely lovely and easy to talk to. After saying goodbye to Dannii, Andrea and I headed towards the back of the huge ballroom where most of the games, as well as plate and cup painting were happening. We decided to decorate a plate that later would be used at an auction to raise money for Challenge. Alexandra, my little sister was already off playing with her friend from school Adele, who was also there with her sibling. After decorating, I got a beautiful black rose tattoo on my wrist. It was fun just watching all the kids playing, talking, listening to music and some just catching up with friends. As this was my first time I didn’t really know any other kids, so Andrea and I just hung around

together – but next time I’ll know a lot more of the other kids! Later on in the evening we had dinner, the kind you’d expect at an allnight slumber party like this! We ate sandwiches, party pies and pizza and there were lots of different drinks. We then watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid Rodrick Rules, in the movie room. It was so comfortable sitting on the bean bags and eating colourful pop-corn. When the movie finished I went to bed as I was quite exhausted! We were woken early on Sunday morning by the leaders for a brekky of bacon and eggs, cereal, fruit and toast. When I got home I went straight to my bedroom and slept for most of the morning! I was so exhausted from all the activity. I really want to thank Challenge for such a fun and enjoyable weekend at the Hilton - I can’t wait till the next one!


39 Inside Challenge

Williamstown Boat Day

By the Pezzimenti Family

The 2011 Williamstown Boat Day was the first Challenge event our family had been a part of. This experience showed us how important it is not only for the children but also parents to get out of the house, the hospital, our comfort zones and just enjoy. We arrived at the Williamstown Yacht Club feeling a little nervous about what to expect but were soon greeted by smiling energetic people who looked like they knew where we were supposed to be. Sure enough we were in the right place and we were soon ushered along the pier to an awaiting vessel. We had brought with us four of our five children and as they rushed to the edges of the pier, leaning as far over as possible without falling in (thanks to our grips on the backs of their shirts), it took all of our parenting skills just to keep them dry.

Time passed very quickly and our peaceful lunch was soon alighted by the screams and laughter of children returning from their travels. It was so nice to see their smiles as they relayed their journeys of hunting down treasures, steering the boat, chasing and fighting pirates and making new friends.

The children’s interest in us soon passed as they saw the entertainment that had appeared in their absence. As they rushed with their new found friends from the jumping castle to face painting, from listening and dancing to music to eating and getting drinks from the bar (non alcoholic of course!), it was easy to see we had made the right decision in coming. Our great day soon came to an end – we are very grateful to all those involved who made this experience possible. Thanks to you all.

Back at the clubhouse we were treated to a lovely BBQ lunch. With tables set up to

DECEMBER 2011

ACTIVITY DAYS

Finally we made it to the end and the children could barely contain their excitement as they climbed aboard. Watching them explore the boat in the quickest and noisiest fashion possible made our decision to stay behind and leave them in the trusting hands of the crew all the easier. Our nerves were frayed enough just getting them there let alone accompanying them out on the bay.

encourage mingling, it was easy to meet and enjoy the company of other parents. Having this opportunity to talk with others about their experiences and travels along the cancer road helped us realise there is a light at the end of the tunnel and plenty of support for us along the way.


40

Movie Madness! Movie buffs from all over Victoria flocked to two special movie days held by Challenge in July and September.

In the luxury of our own private cinema, everyone tucked into popcorn and soft drinks and enjoyed an endless stream of laughs provided by the likes of Jim Carrey and Papa Smurf! A ‘too cute for words’ award was given to the penguins starring alongside Carrey in Mr Popper’s Penguins, while

the Smurfs - everybody’s favourite blue people - delighted kids, big and small, when they came to life on screen! Special thanks to Greater Union for the use of its Russell Street cinemas for both screenings, and a note to all Challenge members – keep a look out for more upcoming movies!

ACTIVITY DAYS


41 Inside Challenge

We Need You! Challenge relies on the generosity and willingness of our members, friends, families and donors to help us do what we do. Without them, we simply couldn’t operate, and it never ceases to amaze us just how amazing our supporters can be! profit organisation. I love the work they do, and made the decision to donate the funds to Challenge,” Perry said. Another example is the introduction of the Herald Sun newspapers on the ward at the hospitals this year. Every day Challenge has 30 papers delivered to the Transplant Suite, Day Oncology and the remainder of the ward. Parents and kids alike love reading the paper everyday whether to keep with the ins and outs of their footy teams, watch as their stocks fall, or have a chuckle over Mark Knight’s cartoons!

Take property developer Perry D’Silva (above right), for instance. Perry approached Challenge about making some significant donations from the sale of 42 houses at a development he was managing in Bentleigh which are to be sold over the next year.

“I’m an extremely family-oriented man, with children of my own. When Craig talked to me about Challenge I was so inspired and really keen to help. It was very clear to me that Challenge had that ‘family’ focus I was looking for in a non-

“Rob is a client of mine and asked me if such an idea were possible. I discussed with senior management a proposal to part-fund the initiative. They agreed and Rob offered to pay the residual cost on behalf of Challenge,” Ryan said. Challenge would like to thank Rob and Ryan for their thoughtful contribution which has seen a practical idea reap lasting benefits. Finally, we’d like to acknowledge Challenge supporter Venkat Mani who hosted a Classical Bharatanatyam Dance Recital at Renaissance Theatre in Kew in April. The night was a fantastic celebration of Indian dance, and included delicious traditional food to delight the taste buds of all who dared to come along and shake what their mammas gave them! All funds raised were donated to Challenge.

1. Give us a call on 1800 828 855. We can help get you started. Complete an event authorisation form, decide on a time and place and give it a go! 2. We want to support you in your fundraising efforts. From finding a venue to fun ways of getting your friends involved, we are always happy to have a chat. If book-keeping is not your thing we can offer advice on receipting and administration and if you would like to know how or where to promote your event we can help with a media release. We can assist you each step of the way! 3. Get in early and give your friends plenty of notice. Call your friends, family, work mates and send them an invitation to your event. The more the merrier. Maybe you can advertise in your school or club newsletter, local paper or business intranet. 4. Put your thinking caps on and come up with some creative ideas to help us raise some even bigger bikkies, eg: - Ask your local businesses to donate goods and services and sell raffle tickets to win them as prizes. - Put a jar of jelly beans in your office and have your workmates pay to guess how many are in the jar – the winner gets to take home the beans! - Get everyone in your workplace to bring in a picture of their pet. The person who guesses each person’s pet wins a prize with a donation to enter. You can also try this with baby photos…it’s amazing how little people change!

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FUNDRAISING

The first house was auctioned by Buxtons Real Estate on 13 August, with subsequent auctions to follow by various real estate estates. It was Craig Williamson, head of Buxtons (above left), who suggested Perry donate the money to Challenge as his son Lucas (above centre) is living with cancer and has been involved with Challenge since he was diagnosed.

This doesn’t all happen by osmosis though! This initiative was the brainchild of Challenge parents Rob and Michelle Barber – owners of Altitude Volvo Cars in Brighton – and was activated by Herald Sun staffer Ryan Vanderhorst.

How to HELP! There are many ways to help raise funds from Challenge, and believe us when we say it, every single dollar helps!


42

It’s a Family Affair at the Annual Challenge Ball Appoint one of the most renowned hotels in Melbourne to throw you a party, get more than 500 friends and supporters of Challenge together, hire one of the most rocking cover bands in Melbourne, and you’re in for one awesome night!

What better year to throw a Las Vegas themed party than when some of your very own Challenge members have returned from America, having been on their ‘Trip of a Lifetime’. The night kicked off with a red carpet arrival for our guests, their fabulous frocks and suits turning the heads of Challenge paparazzi. Following a pre-dinner drink and mingle, it was time to head in to the main ballroom to begin formalities, with our one and only Tom Gleisner kicking off proceedings as entrée was served.

The night was spent with guests enjoying each other’s company and reminiscing on their journeys and involvements with Challenge, until one very special presentation from a young boy, Bryce Gathercole, stole the show. Bryce made a secret entrance to surprise guests and speak of his involvement with Challenge when his big brother Thomas was diagnosed with cancer and sadly, when he passed away. His speech was an insight for guests into the services Challenge provides for not only sick children, but also their siblings and parents who are also often in need of strong support.

A special thank you to major sponsors Hilton on the Park, Yering Station, ALH Group and Velvet Corporation for their support.

Although a tough act to follow, Challenge CEO David Rogers then took to the stage, to speak about what a huge year it has been for Challenge, before introducing an uplifting Challenge presentation. It was then down to the business end of the night – the main auction – which had auctioneer extraordinaire Ross Johnston showing everyone how it’s done. With formalities out of the way, it was time for guests to really let their hair down. They’d had a couple of warm ups


43 Inside Challenge

FUNDRAISING

earlier in the evening, but nothing could prepare them for the final set from Velvet Corporation, which finished off the night with only the best hits of the ‘80s, ‘90s and today. We think the earth might still be trembling! A special thank you to major sponsors Hilton on the Park, Yering Station, ALH Group and Velvet Corporation for their support, as well as all the generous companies who donated main auction, silent auction, and raffle prizes to the evening. Challenge simply could not continue doing what we do without funds raised from events such as this, and let us assure you, we are extremely grateful! Make sure you get in early for next year’s Challenge Ball – it’s turned into quite the event on Melbourne’s social calendar!

DECEMBER 2011


44

Junior Camp … Through the Eyes of Volunteer Leader, Hannah Rowse There we were, early morning August 5th, the leaders grouped together outside Challenge House, waiting for our little campers and of course, the buses, which were to take us to Junior Camp in Mt Eliza! We’d just had a brief meet and greet and each received the itinerary for the camp. I’d really been looking forward to going as it would be my first camp with Challenge and I have to admit, as I looked over the list of activities in store for the weekend, words like ‘flying fox’, ‘magic show’, and ‘fire truck rides’ jumped off the page and my excitement grew even more!

As families began to arrive, the quiet and almost empty pavement we’d been standing on steadily became more congested and chaotic as everyone searched through the sea of pillows, duffles and sleeping bags looking to greet their leader or campers, or else giving last minute hugs goodbye to mum and dad before boarding the buses. We made just one stop on the way to camp, an indoor play centre where we spent the better half of the day jumping, running, climbing, sliding, racing, hiding, seeking, crawling (and in my case squeezing with the very probable chance of getting stuck) in the colourful playground maze. There were smiles all around as we munched on a mountain of sandwiches, giving our bodies a quick rest before another short play, then it was back on the buses and onward to camp! We rolled in, collected our belongings and

headed to our cabins to choose a top or bottom bunk bed before making our way over to the first of many activities for the afternoon. The groups went from cupcake decorating and play dough creation (which really translates to ‘see how badly you can stain your hands’) and then on to feeding and attempting to catch and hold various animals in the petting zoo. Then it was over for a bound on the jumping castle or else strapping into a harness for a ride on the flying fox. Turns out the real fear of this activity wasn’t the push off from the landing, but the ladder climb to get up there instead. A few stopped halfway up to seriously reconsider their decision after realising the ground seemed to be a lot further away than first anticipated. But with encouraging words of support from those below, persevered to the top to be locked into the seat and experience the thrilling rush as they whizzed down to the bottom. The remainder of the afternoon was spent learning circus tricks in the games hall, where you couldn’t take a step without running the risk of being knocked


45 Inside Challenge

out by the flying diabolos, hoola hoops, juggling sticks and (much less scary) coloured scarves. After a quick wash it was down to the food hall for a dinner of spaghetti bolognese (my absolute fave! I’m sure they knew…) with jelly and fruit for dessert. Then it was over to the games hall for a late night movie session watching the quirky animation, ‘Rango’. By the end most were lying with heads rested on pillows, fighting sleep as their tired eyelids drooped heavily. As the movie finished however, and the request made that everyone head to bed for some shuteye, a few seemed to take this up as a personal challenge and expressed a determination to resist sleep completely and stay up as long as possible. But as sheets were rolled back and lights turned off by leaders, it was clear most were too exhausted by the day’s events to fight off sleep any longer. 6am the next day…boy, had I forgotten how early some kids can wake up! After a breakfast of delicious pancakes everyone felt pepped up and ready to join in the fun in the games hall. The kids competed for the chance of glory in various relay races that involved jumping in sacks, tossing bean bags and in one event, costume changes complete with funny glasses, capes and hats.

Feeling slightly out of place now in my very ordinary boring clothing, we all left the hall to greet the friendly firemen and policemen who had come especially to take everyone for joy rides in their engines and cars. Insisting one of my campers wouldn’t possibly wish to climb aboard the fire truck on his own, we happily climbed the steps together, buckled seatbelts and were off around the streets, requesting they loudly sound every type of siren possible for everyone (within a 50 block radius!) to hear. After participating in a range of smaller activities and with many faces now colourfully painted, we took a group photo next to the vehicles and said a big thanks to the lovely police and firemen as they drove away. Then it was up

to the games hall for the magic show performed by Tim Webster, who dazzled his audience with a variety of clever tricks that even got a very loud (and slightly embarrassing!) gasp of surprise from yours truly, as he successfully revealed several red balls in his hand where there had only been two before (how does he do it?!). At this stage the parents had begun to arrive and after greeting their happy campers, settled into tables for an afternoon sausage sizzle and run down from their kids about the action-packed weekend before setting off home. Thank you so much to the kids, leaders, parents, Camp Manyung staff and Challenge for helping to make the weekend so entertaining and memorable for everyone, what a blast! Hope the next one comes along quickly as I am definitely keen to experience another fun filled Junior Camp weekend away!

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CAMPS

Throughout the final races many eyes had been wandering over to a corner of the hall where half a dozen large boxes had been placed. Then as the relays came to an end there was much excited murmuring as everyone gathered together to eagerly watch as the boxes were opened to reveal a variety of costumes. All of a sudden I found myself

surrounded by Harry Potters, Tinkerbells, Pirates, Fairies, Transformers and a couple of Barbie Brides.


46

Living it Up at Urban Camp… By Hannah Steenhuis

This year’s Urban Camp was amazing. The Challenge staff and volunteers were all so friendly and I felt like I was part of one big family. The accommodation was fantastic and the activities were awesome. Everything was perfect.

Sunday Once we arrived and settled in, we broke into two groups and swapped activities: circus tricks and kite making. We then sat down to a fabulous meal prepared by George, the camp chef. Later on we played tabloid sports with about 11 different activities. Gary’s boys won and we celebrated with a big chocolate cake for Ashlyn who was celebrating her birthday. Then it was bed time, but I’m not so sure many kids got to sleep very early; it was so exciting making so many new friends so quickly and we had lots to catch up on! Monday I woke up in the morning, got organised, and walked to the dining room for another delicious meal - thanks George! After breakfast we pulled together some essential items for our trip to Phillip Island. Once we arrived we were split into three groups: • Mini golf, which was quite hard but really fun. • A gigantic maze in which you had to find four flags before finding your way out. • Puzzle Island where we went inside a gravity room, a mirror maze and a games room.


47 Inside Challenge

Tuesday Today was going to be a big one, that’s for sure. After breakfast we caught the tram into town for a ‘city chase’ using clues and a map… it was hard because the challenge covered a very big area which meant lots of walking! We then split into groups at Federation Square and swapped between the Artplay playground and an animation workshop at the Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI), where we created a movie using either a dog, spaceship or person. Once we got back to camp we had some free time and dinner and then headed on a majestic cruise and disco party along the Yarra River. After two awesome hours it was back to camp for bed.

Thursday Today was a day of mega activity! We went to Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre for swimming in the wave pool and squealing down the water slide; it was heaps of fun! Then we had lunch and went back to Camp. In the afternoon we had a tour of the MCG and caught a glimpse of Meatloaf rehearsing for the AFL grand final half time entertainment – what a treat! We then went to the Sports Museum and to Game On interactive which involved lots of sporting activities and challenges and everyone had a really good time. That night, we travelled to the Melbourne Museum where we had a very special overnight stay in the

Friday Unfortunately today was the last day of camp which made me sad as we packed our belongings and got organised to go to the Melbourne Show… but not before a yummy breakfast put on by the Museum: Coco pops and muffins! We went on a million rides at the Show and then had lunch and another birthday cake, this time for Lucy. After the show we headed back to Camp to pack up and were given some awesome show bags before our parents came to collect us. Urban Camp was an exhausting but very exciting and fun week and I would absolutely love to go again!

DECEMBER 2011

CAMPS

Wednesday After yet another great breakfast we legged it to Melbourne Zoo. Once we arrived we could pretty much go anywhere and see everything, which was thrilling. When we got back to camp we ate Trampoline ice-cream (served up by the very enthusiastic Challenge staff) and had some more free time. Later that evening, we went to the movies to watch the hilarious and entertaining movie ‘Zoo Keeper’ … quite fitting given we’d spent the day at the Zoo. We had our own cinema and everyone felt pretty special.

Urban Camp was an exhausting but very exciting and fun week. I would absolutely love to go again!

dinosaur enclosure… it was incredible! We are the only kids in the country who get to do it, and it made us feel very, very lucky. That night we had pizzas and a talent show and got to see some great dancing, amazing singing and even some comedy and magic. The show went for hours and was really funny. One of the leaders was the host and he was great. I don’t think anyone got a lot of sleep that night, but we can blame the Tyrannosaurus Rex!


48

On a High at Hamilton! I have been with Challenge for two years now and I’m always excited when camps come along and I’m sure you are too! When we arrived at Hamilton, I noticed Micka was his usual crazy self! I also saw some friends from other Challenge camps. I didn’t realise we were staying at a girls boarding school – it was cool, though, because we got to choose who was in our rooms - l bunked up with Megan and Georgia. The three of us settled in to our room in bed and talked for a while. It was a little chilly that night

so I wore the new Hamilton jumper we were given, that was pretty cool! In the morning, we had a big breakfast before heading off on a long hike. It was a lovely long walk and we came across a cave, which we explored and although it was really muddy and dark, it was amazing! After the hike, we went to visit a puppy farm. I held a small puppy and

By Charli Kline

it fell asleep in my lap – so cute! But the day didn’t end there – it was off to swimming next! When we got to the pool Megan and l went straight into the water. Wow, she was a good swimmer! We then had a race together and it was so much fun. We had to change really quickly as after swimming we were off to the movies to see Justin Beiber’s ‘Never Say Never’. After the movie, everyone had a case of Beiber Fever, but not me, he actually gives me a headache! We then arrived at the Hamilton Bowls Club to have dinner and play some games including ping pong and pool. After such a long day, we went back to the college for a big long sleep. Another big day was ahead of us, with rides on boats, hotrods and more! The boat was so much fun, especially when I had a go at driving. Everyone thought I was a mad driver. After that we headed to the airport where we were lucky enough to have a ride in a small plane! I travelled in a bright green one with Megan, Georgia, Kiana and Bianca. It was such a brilliant experience! After our plane rides, we visited a petting zoo. We all thought it smelt a little funny at first (animal poop and hay) but we got used to it! We learnt how to shear the sheep and enjoyed patting all the other animals. After another big day we had some dinner and then went out for a night of line dancing! It was confusing at first, but I got the hang of it. When our feet couldn’t carry us any further, we headed back home and hit the sack!


49 Inside Challenge

After the movie, everyone had a case of Beiber Fever, but not me, he actually gives me a headache!

CAMPS

The last day was action packed, as to be expected! First we had breakfast in the bush and then all of a sudden, a motorbike pulled up, and wow, I was so excited … we were going for a spin! We got to choose which bike we rode, so l chose a blue one and my rider’s name was Bernie. After a long ride we arrived at a big park and had lunch. We then got back on the bus for the trip home to Melbourne. It took a while, and to keep my mind off the whole trip I started to count taxis, counting 24 of them by the time we arrived home – small things amuse! When we got back to Challenge House I found my Dad and hugged him tight and told him l had so much fun. Thank you to all the wonderful helpers at Hamilton and of course,a the amazing volunteers and staff at Challenge. I’m looking forward to the next fun adventure!

DECEMBER 2011


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Time Out For Mums In September 1995, as a family, we received the devastating news that our nine-year-old son had terminal cancer. For the next 22 months we attended hospital appointments and long stay admissions for chemotherapy at the Royal Children’s Hospital. We also had a lot to do with Challenge, with camps, family days, and so many other fun times to remember. In 2001 I was invited on the first Women for Challenge Mums retreat being held at the Trevor Barker House in Torquay. A group of bereaved mums were heading down during mid-winter to Torquay for a relaxing weekend by the beach. I knew some of the women going, but others I didn’t, which I thought would make for an interesting weekend. We had all travelled a similar path, but our stories were all different. Some of us walked on the beach with the cold wind blowing and the waves lapping at our feet as we talked about our families, our cancer experience and of our child who had died. Some did not want to do

this, and stayed warm and relaxed inside reading magazines and experiencing the amazing views from the house. We all had massages and facials and more food than we could have possibly needed. The weekend gave us the rare opportunity to take us away from our usual world and spend time with other women who understood exactly what we were going through. Fast forward to 2011 and Challenge has continued to offer weekends away for Mums who have children currently on treatment or who are bereaved. Little has changed since the first weekend, Torquay had gotten a lot bigger, the Trevor Barker House has had a few makeovers, the massage and facial at Soul Skin has mums relaxed and ready to start the weekend, there is food aplenty, both at local restaurants and at the house prepared by local chef Li-Anne from Candoo Catering, wine from Yering Station and so many current magazines to read that by the time the weekend is over you are completely up to date on all of the celebrity gossip and current affairs. Of course the beach just over the road, and regardless of the weather, it is quite invigorating to walk along the shore, while the Torquay shops are always a great diversion.

By Challenge staff member Margaret Hyland

I am now the Parent Support Co-ordinator at Challenge, and since 2007 I have been organising these weekends away. Each of these weekends allows a small group of mums, either with a child in treatment or bereaved, two days that are just about them – no cooking, no laundry, no cleaning, no kids and no husbands – although you’re always welcome to give them a call. When I have spoken to mums about coming away, there are some common questions, like what if I don’t know anyone, or what if we don’t all get along? For those who don’t know anyone, quite often they will recognize a mum from the hospital or some will even request to go away with a particular mum or group of mums. The Trevor Barker House has two large living areas, and some mums come away just to have some quiet time for them and this is fine, personal relaxation is welcomed. Invitations for the 2012 Weekend Retreats will be coming out soon, if you are interested in coming, please fill out the form and return to the Challenge office, or if you have any questions about the weekends or other support Challenge offers please call Margaret on 9329 8474.


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Mums’ Escape to Torquay… By Dani Ford

My name is Dani Ford an d I am the m beautiful bo other of two ys, Jasper, fo ur and a half, an Just over tw d Miles, thre o years ago e. Miles was di rare leukaem agnosed with ia (JMML). a M y pa rtner, the ki harshly snat ds and I wer ched out of e life and thro of Oncology, wn into the transplants world an d ch emo. Life as quickly beca me non-exis we knew it tent.

DECEMBER 2011

PARENT SUPPORT

Coffee Club and a gourm et dinner pr Just when w epared by a e thought w chef! e could eat leaving on da no more, prior y two, we w to ere taken to where the gi an amazing rls basically lu nch inhaled a fo feast tower ot high seaf and then w oo d ashed it dow fine wine. W n with a glas e gave the 10 s of kilo goal a go Challenge, as od nudge! they have do ne on many Meeting mum the last two occasions ov s going thro years, came er ugh similar to the rescue w as good for magical wee challenges and for one the soul. I ha kend in Aug in life ve to admit us t this year, m what it wou other lucky I wasn’t sure yself and fiv ld be like - w mums were e ould people given the op their kids an on an advent want to disc portunity to d the big ‘C ure for two uss go ’, what would da ys at Torqua gi ve like going on n w we talk abou e don’t know y. It was just school cam t each other? p. We met at worried. Sev I should neve office on a S the Challeng en gr r aturday mor ha ea ve t women in e ning, and w of beautiful a house toge in hand, we ith bags and walks along ther, lots waited for th pi llo th w e s be e Challenge bu ach and load food and w met the mys ine … there s of good s! Then we terious Mar was plenty garet. As w lo ts weekend, M to talk abou of gi e gg learnt over le s ab t and argaret was ou t the life in genera a woman of of raising ch l and the ad who was no mystery, so ild ve re t going to gi ntures n. W meone e were in th ve anything like-minded e presence kept the wee away easily in of di vi ot kend a mys du her . al She s who knew tery from st second in lif to appreciate art to end. e and the op ev ery portunities My First Fa we were gi cial! ve n. From the bo One of our ttom of my early surpris heart, I wou es was that hu ge thank yo have a mas ld like to sa we were all u for the am sage and fa ya to ci az al. The girls in g us op by po My heart sa rtunity given Challenge an were very ex nk, that is m to d to Margare cited. y worst nigh precious tim t for giving pampering tmare, I am up her own e to look afte chick! I had no t a r an image in us! my first prop my head th er facial, a lif at if I had etime of pim come out! W ples would ith five othe surely r women be (and surely ing very conv thinking I w incing as mad), I deci a go. I neve ded to give r knew som a facial eo ne massagi and cheekb ng your eyeb ones could ro ws fe el so amazin realised that g (I had not my face was ev en sore from al the head m l the stress). assage… sp And eechless. I much to my am converte delight, no pi d! A nd mples appe ared days la te r! Is it possib le to put on 10 kilos in Clearly this two days? was what C ha llenge was Every turn w aiming for! e took, ther e was amaz chocolate on in g food. Swis arrival in ou s r gift bags, lunch at the


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Ladies Who Lunch! Every year Challenge organises a series of special lunches throughout Victoria, especially for our mums.

Pipers on the Lake, Ballarat By Jenny Lelieveld

Barwon Edge, Geelong By Sharelle Mallon

Thank you Challenge for a brilliant Mums’ Day at Pipers on the Lake at Ballarat in August. It’s always nice to meet up with all the mums and find out how things are going, and the same goes when you met the new mums… we all have our own story to tell, but it seems easier when you are talking to someone who has firsthand knowledge about how things really are.

On 17th October I attended my first Geelong Mums’ Lunch at Barwon Edge. I arrived at the beautiful location and quickly introduced myself to the other mums. As we waited for Margaret and any last mums, we found that we were all ‘first time lunchers’.

For mums who have never been to a Mums’ Lunch, I want you to know it isn’t all talk about sickness and sadness, which some people may think. The lunches I have been to make me feel happy and I always look forward to the next one. And the best part is having a beautiful meal and a lovely glass of wine, plus dessert … of course! So thank you again to Challenge for arranging these fabulous days. I for one don’t get time (and these days have trouble affording) to go somewhere really nice to eat and it’s comforting to know someone is looking after us.

I had attended a Mums’ Retreat at Torquay a couple of years ago and although I found it really enjoyable I tend to feel somewhat out of the conventional box when it comes to my son’s treatment. Thomas doesn’t have an end date when it comes to the battle with his brain tumour. We can’t count down the treatment dates knowing that there is a light at the end of the dark tunnel of chemotherapy. For us, it is not so much the question of when this treatment ends but when the next one begins. This feeling of being on a different path to other families has made me hesitant about attending previous lunches, so it was interesting to learn that of the 10 or so mums who did attend, the majority were attending for the first time.

PARENT SUPPORT

Rinaldo’s, Wangaratta By Alana Wadley In June I attended a luncheon at Rinaldo’s Restaurant in Wangaratta for surrounding district Challenge Mums to come together and enjoy each other’s company over a lovely lunch. Unfortunately numbers were a little low and only four mums were able to attend along with Margaret, from Challenge. But from this small group

It goes without saying that the food was delicious (any venue Margaret picks could never disappoint), but as is the case when any mums meet, the star performers are always our children. As I sat and listened to other mums talk, I began to realise every family is on a different path. The beauty of the Mums’ Lunch for me and the invaluable service that Challenge continues to provide our family is that whatever the journey, and whatever the destination, we aren’t traveling alone. There will always be another mum that has held the trembling hand of their babe, or kissed away the tears of fright that soak their child’s face. With other Challenge mums there is no explanation needed for the anger and sorrow that we can feel while simultaneously laughing with joy and wonder at things our precious bundles say to get through their hospital days. To all those who have hesitated like I did to attend a Mums’ Lunch or even a Dads’ Day, I urge you to give it a go! If all you walk away with is the confirmation that you are not alone then it has been a success and well worth your time.

of ladies I got to meet four very special mums who all shared their stories with me, providing great encouragement, hope and support like no one else can. Over the past 15 months since my son’s diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia I haven’t had many opportunities to get away from it all so I am forever grateful to Challenge for providing some time-out, even just for a couple of hours.


53 Inside Challenge

Disney on Ice Hi my name is Alicia Lewis and I’m six. Challenge invited my Mum and me to see Disney on Ice. It was the most magical and exciting day of my life so far.

By Alicia Lewis

I had dreamed of going to see Disney on Ice, and I had been asking Mum for ages. So when we got the call to say that Challenge had tickets, I got myself dressed so fast and ate my breakfast in split second timing, that Mum thought she had someone else’s daughter.

My favorite part was when the whole stage was transformed into Pixie Hollow and all the pixies and fairies played. Some people from the audience even got to ride in the special carriages. Tinker Bell was

The audience couldn’t believe how wonderful all the skaters were. They were able to do the most fabulous tricks and not fall over. The boy skaters jumped over things, slid down slides with their ice skates on and lifted the girls high above their heads. They were so strong. The most colorful world would have to have been ‘The Little Mermaid’; there were bright orange seahorses and purple-blue fish. It felt like being under the sea with Ariel and all her friends, it was fantastic. I think I would like to be a princess mermaid... I had a Tink-tastic time thanks to Challenge!

DECEMBER 2011

IN THE COMMUNITY

I got to see all my favorite Disney characters, Mickey, Minnie, Ariel, Simba and Tinker Bell. Each of the characters had their own magical worlds and the stage changed all the time. Each world was even more colorful and magical than the one before.

so beautiful; she skated all around the stage and even flew!


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Kylie Takes Time Out With Challenge… Australia’s Princess of Pop and long-time supporter of Challenge, Kylie Minogue, once again proved her heart is definitely in the right place, when despite a gruelling concert schedule, she didn’t hesitate to take a break with some of our Challenge kids while in Melbourne for her sensational Aphrodite tour in June. The thrill of being offered tickets to her concert took a back seat when Challenge delighted our six girls with another very special surprise. Yes! They were going to meet Kylie in person! Antonia Sanchez, Lily Rutherford, Grace Howard, Simone Kerr, Charli Kline and Grace Meers joined Kylie at Rod Laver Arena for afternoon tea, a back stage tour and sneak-peak of her much talked-about Dolce and Gabbana costumes.

And it was on to the concert later that evening. The heat was well and truly on at the show, taking the chill out of the air on the cold, wintry night. Anyone who saw it would agree it was Kylie’s most complex and dazzling yet, featuring her riding high on a winged horse as well as high-flying aerialists, a large fountain and water jets – all on a $10 million stage! She had about a minute-and-a-half to rip off and replace each of her custommade costumes, doing eight changes during the Greek mythology-inspired performance. We don’t know how she does it!


55 Inside Challenge

Football Fever! Picture this. You’re six years old, a HUGE Collingwood fan, and you get a phone call from Challenge saying “how would you like to run onto the ground and toss the coin for the Collingwood v Carlton game this weekend?”. Pretty damn excited I’d say! Flipping the coin at the MCG in front of 86,000 screaming Collingwood and Carlton fans is not the sort of opportunity you get everyday!

to witness the Carlton and Collingwood teams run through their banners to the sounds of the near capacity crowd roaring from the stands. Wow – what a buzz! We then wished Thomas luck, as he was escorted to the middle of the ‘G’ to put his week of coin-tossing practice into action!

My son Thomas has been through a lot for a six year old, having been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) in 2008. However, at the MCG on July 16 this year, this was all but a memory as he got ready for an experience he (and our family) will never forget!

This is where the excitement really began! Tom was introduced firstly to Chris Judd, and shook his hand while looking him in the eye and saying ‘good luck!’. Harry O’Brien then arrived in the centre for the toss (this round was known as the Indigenous round) - a surprise to Thomas who had been expecting Nick Maxwell, the Collingwood captain. Again, Tom looked directly at Harry O and said ‘Hi’ and wished him EVEN MORE good luck!

The opportunity was made available by Challenge, the Carlton Football Club and one of their major sponsors – Hyundai. Thomas, his brother Daniel, myself and my wife were invited into the Carlton rooms before the game to get an

‘insiders’ view into what REALLY goes on pre-match. At first it was all about getting up and moving and having a kick in pairs before heading out onto the ground for the main warm up. Then it was back in the rooms for lots of back patting and psyching each other up for what promised to be a massive encounter against the Collingwood Footy Club. With all the pre-match hype over, our family was escorted onto the ground

The time to toss the coin had arrived! Thomas had a special 20 cent piece on him in readiness. Chris Judd won and signalled which way Carlton would kick. After much evaluation – Tom rated his toss as just ‘average’.

The Hutton family would like to thank Challenge for enabling this amazing experience to happen and for their continued support of families with children living with cancer.

DECEMBER 2011

IN THE COMMUNITY

Before we knew it, the build up to the day - the coin tossing, hand-shaking practise, and actually being out in the middle meeting the players was all over. Tom ran with his escort off the ground sporting a smile from ear to ear, and back to our very proud family. He had done a fabulous job and we were so thrilled to then watch the game as a family…and enjoy a pie!


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Meanwhile 12-yearold Jayke de Vries runs through the Collingwood banner on Grand final day… Just over five months ago, I was diagnosed with Leukaemia. As I live in Darwin in the Northern Territory, and the hospital there doesn’t have the facilities available to treat Leukaemia, I had to fly down to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Victoria for my treatment. My Mum came with me, but we had to leave my Dad, sister and brother at home, along with my pet dog, bird and snake.

Thank you Challenge and thank you Collingwood. It was a fantastic day, and I’ll never forget it.

I’ve spent most of the last five months in hospital, but when I have been able to get out, I wasn’t allowed to go home, so we stayed at Ronald McDonald House, across the road from the hospital – our home away from home. During the last few months, Challenge has offered me a few special things – movie passes, football passes and camps etc., but my blood levels were always too low to go. My favourite football team is Collingwood, and when I couldn’t go to the Preliminary

Final I was so disappointed, but totally rapt when they won and got in the Grand Final against Geelong! Mum asked Challenge if it was possible to get a couple of tickets for the Final, as I was finally well enough to go out. David Rogers phoned Mum on the Thursday and offered us two tickets. I was so pleased. My first trip to the MCG and it was to see Collingwood in the Grand Final! Then another surprise – David picked us up on the Friday and we went to Collingwood’s last training session! It was awesome to see the players going through their paces. Then, from nowhere, Eddie McGuire asked to speak to me, and offered me a Collingwood jumper. I thought that was wonderful, but there was more. He then asked me if I would be the Mascot for Collingwood and go through the banner with the boys at the Grand Final! Of course I said YES! On the day of the Grand Final, Mum and I arrived at the MCG. The crowds were amazing – they were expecting 100,000 people – that’s the whole population of Darwin in one spot! Jess and Brian from Collingwood called us to the change rooms, and explained what I had to do. I walked on to the ground with Brian, while Jess stayed

with Mum. The weather was supposed to be terrible, but I didn’t care. This was the most exciting once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I was doing it! Miraculously, the weather was okay, a bit cold and rainy, but okay. I looked around at all the people. There were so many. Then ‘the Boys’ started coming up the ramp. Nick Maxwell was first, and he high-fived me, and said “Come on Buddy, let’s do this!”. When we got to the banner, we stopped. Dale Thomas and Harry patted me on the back and shook my hand. I was on the MCG with the Collingwood Players at the start of the Grand Final. How awesome! Unfortunately, Collingwood lost, but the first three quarters were spectacular. After the game in the rooms Eddie McGuire came and hugged me, and asked me if I’d had a good time. He signed my shirt, wished me a healthy and happy life. The last thing I saw was Dale Thomas with a pink love heart towel wrapped around him – hmmm. Thank you Challenge and thank you Collingwood. It was a fantastic day, and I’ll never forget it.


57 Inside Challenge

Reflections and Thanks Dear Margaret, My sincere thanks for all the hard work and effort you put into the retreat weekend. I really enjoyed the company and the rest. It was well worth the wait and I thank you for always encouraging me to attend the weekend away. Keep up the wonderful work. Kristine Dear Margaret and everyone at Challenge, I just wanted to thank you for such a great weekend away at Torquay. It was so relaxing and also reassuring hearing so many similar stories, it really is a touching experience for us mums. Thank you also for the pampering and spoiling all weekend. Vanessa Wearne

Karen To everyone at Challenge Thanks again for showing Harry and James such a great time. You all go to such great effort to ensure all the kids have so much fun. James loved his first

riding around. Thank you for your incredible generosity.

The Wearnes

My name is Ozzie and I went on a camp to Hamilton – it was amazing! We went on different kinds of cool stuff like speed boats, hotrods, fire trucks, and also went go-karting and caving. We went in a little plane and l had to sit backwards, which was scary. It was really funny when Micka, drove round and round the roundabout – everyone was laughing.

Dear Micka, Thank you for keeping me entertained and bringing around the X-Box when I was in hospital. Oliver Dear Challenge, Thank you for inviting me to the Slumber Party this year. I have been sick the last four years so it was the first time for me – I have never been up for 24 hours straight! I was so excited to have my picture taken with Dannii. I even had a moment to tell her I met Kylie when I was 8 – another opportunity I got from Challenge. I loved the whole experience with my best friend Alisha and her brothers Ashley and Jayden and sister Olivia. We watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Gulliver’s Travels. I also enjoyed playing the Wii, motorbike racing and dancing. The next day I was asleep from 10am until 4pm – I was so tired, but I can’t wait until the next Slumber Party! Lena Mishra Dear Challenge, Thank you so much for Tyson’s new bike. He loves it and is out every day

Joanne Hansen

Thank you for taking us on such as awesome camp. Ozzie Adamiak Hi, my name is Lochlan and I am a 12 year old boy receiving treatment for leukemia at Monash. My three younger brothers and I joined Challenge not long after I was diagnosed in February this year. They have since enjoyed many outings and camps including Urban Camp which they said was heaps of fun. I couldn’t believe how much they got to do in six days! They even went to the Melbourne Show. Unfortunately I have not experienced many outings with Challenge myself as I have been too unwell to attend most things. Although I am nearing the end of my treatment and look forward to participating in many day activities and camps in the future. I also look forward to meeting other people that have been through the same or similar journey to myself. Lochlan Bankes-Fay

DECEMBER 2011

Reflections & thanks

Dear Margaret and Challenge team, Thank you so much for a lovely weekend away. I am so grateful to you for all the hard work you put in. I had forgotten what it was like to be looked after and enjoyed sharing the experience with such lovely women. It really helps to be able to share with others, but just being able to veg out and have someone take control – what a treat!

camp and keeps talking about his big trip with Neville! We also enjoyed our break and appreciate all of the hard work you put into everything.


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To Challenge, Thank you for giving me the chance to attend Motorbike Camp. You did a great job as you always do and I had an awesome time. Even going over the handle bars and crashing was fun! Nathan O’Kane Hi Micka, I’d like to thank you for the kindness you showed to our girl Bethany while she was in the Children’s Hospital. You guys do an amazing job and add so much joy to families and kids as they face horrific challenges. We appreciate all you do. Lyn for the Wake family Dear David, Micka & staff, Just a note to say thanks for hosting the Motorbike Camp last weekend.  The boys had a wonderful time riding and made some new friends along the way.  Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who attended, they did a fantastic job caring for the kids and providing such a fun and safe environment for all to enjoy.  Matt, Blayne, Koby, Debbie & Brad Horwood To Challenge, Thank you Challenge for my new bike. I ride it a lot. I love the pink and purple colour and the bell and streamers. I also like the flowers and stars on it. I was so happy to get this bike! Caitlyn Smurf Movie Day On 9 October, it was my eighth birthday and I watched The Smurfs at the Challenge Movie Day. My favourite part

was when the Smurfs got into the Blue Moon and my favourite smurf is definitely Smurfette. I had popcorn and Fanta and it was yum!

You all have done your organisation proud with putting on such an amazing, friendly and loving event. Nick, Dee, Emily & Monique Andjelic

It was nice to spend time with my Challenge friends who also have little brothers or sisters with cancer and understand what it’s like to always have my sister in hospital, taking lots of medicine. Thank you Challenge and to my friends and family for making it such a wonderful birthday. Ashley Farrugia Dear Challenge I just wanted to say a big thank you for the Eminem tickets for the girls. They had such a great time and are still raving about it! I would like to thank you very much for your wonderful support in what has been a difficult year for our family. I really can’t thank you enough!! Anne-Cherie

Dear Challenge, Just a quick note to say thanks for Saturday’s Christmas party – Sasha had a lovely time and was thoroughly exhausted by the time we left!! Anna Barvinsky

Condolences

Challenge staff, families and volunteers have been deeply saddened by the loss of our much-loved members who have passed away since the production of our last magazine. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of these children – our thoughts are with you.

Sam Zwartz Aiden Kinkela Mo Omar Tristian Britton

To all the TEAM at Challenge, WOW, what a wonderful carnival and day of fun that our family had today at the Challenge Christmas Party. All four of us had a fun filled day that brought much happiness to each of us in many different ways. Both our girls had to have an early nights sleep, totally exhausted from a complete day of absolute excitement.

Edwin Devonish

Please thank all staff and volunteers for their wonderful and continued support. Also please forward our thanks to your generous corporate partners for their wonderful donations for allowing Challenge Families to be able to enjoy such a wonderful day.

Jonatan Li 

Benjamin Weidner Tom Warren Jordan Rampton Caitlin Raco Olivia Patsolaridis    

Robbie Destratis James Clark Elise Hollands


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Inside Challenge - Christmas Edition: December 2011