Less than 3 weeks to go until the 2016 Kidney Kar Rally begins!
It has been a busy year for us working towards this year's rally. I thought I would share with you some of our experiences from this year to help understand why we do what we do...
Given the work the Kidney Kids did at their annual 2015 camp, creating bright colourful paintings to decorate our Rally Kar, and given we had won the trophy for Best Presented Kar for 2015, we thought we should attend the 2016 camp on the Gold Coast in April to show the Kids the finished product! They were thrilled to see their paintings and handprints transformed into the 'wrap' covering the Kar as well as some photos of themselves! But more importantly for us, we were simply overwhelmed to see the camp, to see where all the money raised gets spent and to interact with some of these amazing kids. The camp provides the Kidney Kids a fun filled 4 days with each other. They are able to enjoy themselves and just be kids, having fun, while still undergoing their dialysis. And I cannot speak highly enough about the volunteers - over 100 of them - who work hard to make sure the 130 kids enjoy the camp. It was well worth the drive from Melbourne and we left the camp re-inspired to try our best to improve our fundraising efforts.
In May we drove to Bendigo to attend an open house belonging to the Johns family. Beccky Johns was a Kidney Kid. She had attended several of the camps until she was 18 and then volunteered at the camps before securing her dream job with Kidney Health Australia. Despite having transplants when she was young, the anti rejection drugs she was still taking many years later caused her to then have to fight cancer. She passed away late in 2015. We had met Beccky several times both at the Big Red Kidney Walks and also on the Rally. She was an amazing young lady, so full of life and with an incredibly positive spirit. Her family home became the grand final project for Channel 9's Reno Rumble following Beccky's passion for home renovation reality shows. The open day following the end of the series helped to establish the Beccky Johns Kidney Discovery Trust set up to aid research into finding non-cancer inducing anti-rejection drugs.
In September each year, we organise a group of staff and friends and family to attend the Kidney Research Walk in Melbourne. We are very grateful to all those who take the time out of their weekend to participate in the Walk and will continue to take part and support this event in the future.
I should also mention the amazing support we get from Kidney Health Australia. We attended a retirement function for their CEO, Anne Wilson at the end of May. Her work for the organisation and her support for the Rally was highly valued and we will miss her at this year's rally. But all the team at KHA do a fantastic job - Dan, Stephen and Colin - it was great to catch up at the camp. And Katie - your 24/7 support for us and commitment to the cause are exceptional - thank you!