Suzanne Landers and her husband, James were “overwhelmed with people’s generosity” at the Day for Derek fundraiser, in memory of her son, Derek Kelly, at the Airlie Homestead in Rawdon Vale last month.
On Tuesday, August 8, Suzanne and her son, Derek’s brother Shaun Kerry handed over a cheque for $25,597 to the Cure Brain Cancer (CBC) Foundation.
The funds raised were from a combination of events held in and around Gloucester over the past few months, with the main event being the Day for Derek on July 1.
Suzanne said there were generous donations from Quota International of Gloucester, the Lions and Rotary Clubs of Gloucester, the Majestic Family Store and the Uniting Church, before and after the event.
Helloworld Gloucester and Gloucester Basketball held a special event the week before with Perth Wildcat players, including Gloucester native, Damian Martin, with proceeds donated to the Day for Derek.
Events on the day helped raise the majority of funds donated with things like the Gloucester Rotary Club Duck Race on the Kerripit River, historical tours of the homestead and helicopter joy flights.
Many clubs volunteered, including the Gloucester Garden Club selling donated plants, the Gloucester Red Cross offering Devonshire tea on the verandah and the Country Women’s Association (CWA) Evening Branch selling raffle tickets.
Suzanne said there was a generous amount of goods and volunteer hours donated from the communities around the region.
“It was an amazing co-effort from our regional rural folk and the town folk who assisted on the day,” she said.
“I say regional, which encompassed not only the Gloucester region, but also Maitland, Dungog and the New England region.”
“Both my husband, James and I were overwhelmed with people’s generosity,” she said.
According to Suzanne, the big draw cards were the appearances by Dr Charlie Teo, Damian Martin, Newcastle Knights player, Nathan Ross and Assistant Minister for Rural Health, Dr David Gillespie.
Chief executive officer of CBC, Michelle Stewart said the foundation is grateful to everyone who helped to make the event a success.
“Brain cancer has a devastating impact on too many young Australian families like Derek’s, but what his family, friends and local community have achieved by coming together to honour him is so humbling.
“This money will go towards vital brain cancer research, which is the only way we can improve the situation for people diagnosed with brain cancer in Australia,” Ms Stewart explained.
Suzanne explained how the people who attended the event were united by the loss of loved ones to cancer, in many forms.
“When Charlie spoke to the crowd of Derek’s fight with cancer the grief, it was a united grief.”
She explained how he spoke about CBC’s achievements to date and the prime objective to extend the lives of brain cancer victims, especially the young, who are statically hit the hardest.
“The success of the day reflected a community spirit that prevails in rural regions.”