On the south-western edges of Sydney the Macarthur region has taken a lead in the fight against cancer with the annual 24-Hour Fight Against Cancer fundraising movement.
The movement was established in 2005 and has since grown to incorporate over 1,500 people who walk in the event each October, not to mention a raft of supporters, sponsors and beneficiaries. To date the charity has raised over $2.5Million to assist local hospitals with the extra services and equipment they need to assist in the treatment, care and comfort of children and adults dealing with cancer.
David Eckford is the official Teams Coordinator for the Macarthur Campbelltown 24-Hour Fight Against Cancer.
David has been participating in the event for over seven years donating hundreds of hours of his time to the organisation of the event. As teams coordinator David is responsible for 120 different teams of walkers totaling over 1,500 people.
Why did David get involved with the charity? When I spoke with David it seemed more of a question of ‘why wouldn’t he be involved with the charity’. His passion for the cause is palpable and has also led him to other charity work raising awareness about cancer in schools.
It seems there were two sparks that ignited the initial motivation to get involved, a close friend being diagnosed with breast cancer, and meeting Cr Fred Borg (chairperson) at a Chamber of Commerce meeting.
However, once he started he noticed that the people who were doing the walk for ‘free’, in other words by the time they walked the money had already been raised. Still over 1,500 people walk each year just in the fight against cancer. This really inspires David.
David is the franchisee of Mr Rental Ingleburn and he encourages his whole team from the store participate in the event every year. He acknowledges his team puts in a big effort from packing over 1,500 shirts, to setting up on the day, an investment of up to 10 hours per week leading into the event.
For his team culture he says at first there were questions “what are we doing now?” but now everyone just gets it done. He says the team is very active and now bring their families as well. Potential new employees are even told about the walk during the interview process.
Pursuing the Charities’ website it’s easy to see the event draws together many community members from school representatives, families, local council, local business, service groups and community members. All coming together to fight cancer and raise money for their community.
I asked David if he was a leader in this effort and like so many who do so much there was a reluctance to step into that title. He tells me that it’s all about the shared passion for the cause that brings everyone together.
And it is clear the benefits of the event reach far beyond the fundraising and awareness raising alone. It’s an opportunity for community to draw together for common purpose.