Apologies for the silence over the past few weeks, but the legs of a few ducks have been madly paddling, and the opportunity to catch up has at last presented itself.
As you would know, Matthew had been nominated for Queensland Father of the Year, and he attended the finals on Thursday 29 August. He was very happy to lose to the wonderful Neil Thompson, an inspirational man, and says he was very humbled to be considered amongst such an amazing group of dads. Thanks to everyone for your kind words and best wishes. He had a lovely day and a great opportunity to talk directly to our Queensland Premier about issues associated with disability care management in Queensland.
We have had the most amazing support in terms of fundraising over the past month. As many of you would know, a few weeks ago the Holland Park Hawks held a fundraising evening, and Matthew was delighted to attend a footy match recently where he was presented with a cheque for $14,000. Will’s Under 8 team, Hamburg, led the senior team out for the main game just before the presentation of the cheque.
The St Thomas Masquerade Gala was held on the 24th of August, with all proceeds being donated to the Renovating Matthew Foundation. Unbelievably, Diane became unwell quite early in the evening courtesy of a gastro bug. She was assured that everyone would look after Matthew, so she left him in the great hands of ‘the party’, and headed home. So Matthew had a wonderful night shuffling away on the dance floor and we are all so thankful to his wonderful friends and the community of St Thomas who made sure he got home safely. Apparently he cut quite a pace wheeling home being followed by a merry band through Camp Hill in the wee hours. A special thanks to Lauren and the truly amazing group of organisers who made it an amazing evening.
The third and at present final party was the Renovating Matthew Ball held on Friday 6 September at the Sofitel in Brisbane. It was a full crowd, with 550 people in attendance, most being friends and colleagues of Matthew’s from the energy and resources sector. We were entertained by Paul Carter, author of Is That Thing Diesel?, Don’t Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs…She Thinks I’m a Piano Player in a Whorehouse, Smoking Monkeys, Drilling Rigs, Bio-diesel Bikes and Other Stories, This is Not A Drill, and Ride Like Hell and You’ll Get There. On a personal note, it was lovely to see members of our extended family in the audience, and a surprise visit from Fiji family Robin and Joe W. Many others travelled to be present for the night, and it felt something like a really big and happy wedding. A particular thanks to Madonna King who did such a wonderful job as MC, to Danielle Bolton and the organising committee, and to the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand for their support of the evening. Matthew was so grateful to be able to catch up with so many of you.
Between the parties was a run, the Bridge to Brisbane. Our wonderful friend Steph Robotham organised a team of Everyday Heroes who raised over $32 000 for the Foundation. The running team comprised David St (ended up 2nd in the hero time competition – i.e. run time less a second for every dollar raised), Steph (5th in hero time comp), Justine (8th in hero time), Paula (10th in hero time), Helen, David Sm, Damien, Raymond, Celia, Martyn, Mark, Kate,
Josh, Sarah, Leon, Jodi, Amelia, Caleb, and kids Rhys, Megan, James, Sarah, Josie, Grace, Josh (all aged between 12-15!). The main fundraisers were in order David St, Steph, Paula, Justine, Raymond, Helen, Damien and Kate, Celia and the kids ‘all did their bit’. It was a huge effort, over a prolonged period, and has made a huge contribution.
At this stage, we are making great progress towards enough funds for an arm, so while there is still quite a way to go in terms of a full set of limbs, one arm will make a significant difference, as you would all well know by now. Once we have final figures, we’ll give you an update on where we’re at with fundraising totals to date. To all of those who have worked so hard over the past month, please know that you will make a difference and that words aren’t enough to describe how appreciative we all are.
The next round of preparatory surgery is also coming up in a few weeks, and we suspect Matthew will probably be glad of the opportunity to lie down for a few days. This duck is going to sit on a rock and sun the feathers for a week or two until the next update.