Written by Kerrie Alexander
The Dunga Derby is run every year to support local families and individuals with life-limiting medical conditions or those who need help from a situation beyond their control.
Under the umbrella of the Rally for a Cause charity, those Dunga Derby teams have raised a massive $1.8 million since its inception in 2015.
That money has since provided support to over 100 local Fraser Coast families in their times of crisis. Each month, Alive Magazine publishes a Dunga Derby column with a focus on the families who have been recipients of this vital support.
Those who have thrown a dollar in a dunga tin, attended events or even sponsored a car, will read about the incredible difference those life-changing donations have made to the recipients.
THE WELCH FAMILY STORY
Rally for a cause are an amazing organisation and I would like to say how much it has meant to me and my kids to have been a recent recipient of their support.
My hubby and best friend Rich passed away unexpectedly in August 2019. He was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2012 and had a donor stem cell transplant that year. We have three kids who were 13, 12 and 10 when he died. They all have disabilities and require daily support.
When Rich was first diagnosed with leukemia we wereliving a long way from Brisbane where he required ongoing treatment. We moved to the Fraser Coast and bought a block of land. Rich was a builder before he got sick so we decided to build our own forever home in 2016. Unfortunately, Rich’s health declined and he required hip and shoulder replacements. He had Graft versus host disease (GVHD) which is a complication from the treatment for leukemia. He battled this for many years but in 2019 it attacked his internal organs and he lost his fight with leukemia.
When Rich passed away we were in the middle of building the house. When we were nominated to Rally for a Cause we had no running water, no flushing toilets or shower. We were living in a caravan on our block while trying to finish the house so we could move in. Thanks to the insanely generous financial help from Rally for a Cause we were able to get the bathroom areas finished.
Reece Plumbing donated the materials for the bathroom build which was amazing. I was walking around with a huge grin when I got the news for ages, the kids were wondering what was wrong with me! The kindness and generosity of people who have not met us has been mind blowing for me in this journey. I would also like to personally thank Rally for a Cause for the enthusiasm, kindness and ability to make people smile.
The difference it has made in our everyday life is hard to explain. To be able to have a shower anytime we want, to be able to turn a tap on and water comes out and not having to flush the toilet by first filling a bucket with water. I feel like royalty now with all these fancy things! Although the kids are having to get used to the concept of actually pushing the button to flush the toilet, but it is a good problem to have.
But in all seriousness, I can’t express in words the difference people like rally for a cause make. They made an impossible goal become reality. The kindness of total strangers who have raised money to help families like us makes this grief journey a little easier to travel on. At a time in our lives when everything is sad to know there is good in the world helps.
The bathroom is obviously the major help that Rally for a Cause gave us but it was also the friendly and positive way they helped. They made me feel supported and their enthusiasm for life is special. We were able to meet a few more of the Rally gang at the Christmas party for recipients and the sense of togetherness and acceptance was a wonderful break from daily life. My kids are still talking about the size of the yummy lamingtons!
We miss Rich every single moment, of every day and it has been a hard journey for us all. Rally spreads hope and kindness at a time when people really need it. Thank you are two small words to express the impact Rally for a Cause and Dunga Derby have had on not only my life, but all the other people they help in so many ways.
Thank you from Nerys, Jaguar, Cougar and Cobra Welch