Geraldton Guardian

Cancer camp fundraiser on last lap

- Letitia Busniak

It’s been a long journey for the local teams driving across country for the annual wesCarpade event — but those efforts are about to be rewarded when they cross the finish line in Geraldton tomorrow.

Having left Dongara on Saturday, the local teams joined dozens from around the State on a journey across the Mid West and Gascoyne to raise awareness and funds for charity Camp Quality.

The week-long journey will come to an end tomorrow, when the cars arrive at the Camp Quality wes-Carpade Family Fun Day, due to take place at the Geraldton Foreshore from 11am- 3pm.

Held in front of the Geraldton Multipurpo­se Centre, the event will include activities, a bouncy castle, face painting and treats. The cars are expected to arrive from 1pm.

The teams in the convoy of pre-1996 cars will have plenty to celebrate, having spent the past year raising funds for the charity.

Donations will help fund family camps and retreats for children living with cancer, their siblings and parents, in the region.

Camp Quality camp leader and Family Fun Day organiser Steve Pawelski said the wes-Carpade was a great event to raise money for the organisati­on and its many programs.

“Helping kids with cancer was something I always wanted to do,” he said.

“I checked out Camp Quality and they’re all about fun and laughter.

“It sounded good to me and they are all fantastic programs but my favourites are the family camps.

“Treatment for all childhood cancer is in Perth and some treatments can last up to 18 months, which puts a lot of pressure and strain on a family with a child with cancer.

“The camps allow our families to go away for a weekend and spend time together, to forget about cancer for a couple of days and to have fun and do things they perhaps haven’t been able to do for a while.

“The best part of it all, though, is seeing the smiles and the sound of laughter — sometimes laughter really is the best medicine.”

Local women Kath Millward, Karen Yates and Helen Yates from the Geraldton branch of Camp Quality, joined by chauffeur Graeme Bylund, made up one of the two themed cars from Geraldton, while the second was filled by Olga Giudice and Joanne and Dave Shea.

Mrs Millward, whose car is themed on Driving Miss Daisy, said she had seen the benefits of the camps first-hand.

“The first camp I ever went on we took a group of kids to Kalbarri and just the looks on their faces told me what a great idea this was,” she said.

“It gives the kids fighting cancer a chance to get away from it all and the parents and siblings a bit of a break too.

“It’s a fantastic idea but it costs around $7000 per camp so every cent of fundraisin­g goes a long way. That’s why we’re so grateful to our Geraldton branch leader Steve Pawelski, who’s unable to come on the trip but has still done so much to make it possible.”

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