Written by Kerrie Alexander
With every fundraising event held, every car modification made, and every kilometre travelled on the annual Dunga Derby, the 65 Fraser Coast teams involved do it all to help Fraser Coast families who are going through extraordinarily hard times.
This year, there will also be “Double Dunga” fun with 27 Sunshine Coast teams thrown in the dirt flying mix.
That totals about 350 big-hearted entrants, officials and support teams taking on this year’s 1300km secret trek.
Run under the charity Rally for a Cause, the annual event is now in its seventh year and was started by local businessmen and women who wanted to make a difference.
Everyone involved has now raised over $1.3 million and assisted over 130 inspirational Fraser Coast families, starting with Amanda and Michael Christensen, who lost their six-year-old son Cooper to a rare brain cancer just three weeks before the first rally was set to leave Hervey Bay in 2015.
There are all sorts of reasons why entrants have joined the dunga family; some just want to help their fellow neighbours and others have been recipients who just want to give back.
For Dunga Derby Events Coordinator Andrew Coppens, taking part in his first four-day Dunga Derby in 2019 was a journey of discovery after fighting his own health issues.
Now, Mr Coppens is one of the driving forces behind the highly anticipated event and looks forward to another sensational year.
Just knowing that you are making in a difference in the community, and those who are struggling for reasons beyond their control, is what the Dunga is all about, he said.
“While all Dunga Derby teams have minimum fundraising requirements, we often see teams raise significantly more than they are required to do,” Mr Coppens said.
“They do it because most if not all teams have had family or friends who have been impacted by limiting medical conditions or impacted by detrimental circumstances beyond their control.
“Teams genuinely want to help – they know that the funds raised make a significant difference to a family or individual’s life.
“Fundraising brings so much more than just financial benefits, it’s the love and desire to help our local community.”
That couldn’t be truer for this year’s entrants, with whispers that some of the teams might crack a fundraising record.
Last year, the team’s Herculean effort raised over $280,000.
“The fundraising momentum for 2021 has been sensational to say the least and we expect to break the highest fundraising record by an individual team and the highest funds raised in an individual year as a group by a significant amount.
“This is only possible with the generosity and support of local businesses and families who continue to support this amazing charity, Rally for a Cause, for this we thank you.”
Kitted out with thermal undies, plenty of blankets, swags and camping gear, the teams will leave the Hervey Bay RSL car park at 6am on Thursday, July 29 and will no doubt look forward to a hot shower when they return on Sunday, August 1.
The Fraser Coast teams will meet up with the Sunshine Coast team at Aussie World, before heading off to, well … only the organisers know.
“After some fan fair at Aussie World, we will head off for our four-day adventure to destinations unknown!
“The one thing I do know is that it’s going to be cold.”
Fraser Coast teams will arrive home on Sunday, August 1 at about 3.30pm for a parade cruise of the Esplanade and on to the Seafront Oval for celebrations with the Whale Festival event.