02/09/2010 - 00:00

Another hill to climb for cancer

02/09/2010 - 00:00

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SMALL businesses can sometimes struggle to effectively connect with the not-for-profit sector – there may be a lack of focus as to which sector to support, or a feeling the presence of corporate players is overwhelming their contribution.

Another hill to climb for cancer

SMALL businesses can sometimes struggle to effectively connect with the not-for-profit sector – there may be a lack of focus as to which sector to support, or a feeling the presence of corporate players is overwhelming their contribution.

For former Special Air Service officer come business owner and author Rick Parish, who routinely committed financial support to the communities his businesses operated in, the motivation for his biggest not-for-profit contribution yet is clear.

Almost a year ago, and four days after returning to Perth from summiting Mount Kilimanjaro, Mr Parish’s two-year-old son Elliot was diagnosed with a brain tumour and spinal cancer.

In between dealing with the emotional upheaval, countless doctors appointments and being with Elliot at Princess Margaret Hospital, Mr Parish and his wife Emily had two other sons at home to care for.

On the second night he slept in the uncomfortable recliner chair in Elliot’s ward, Mr Parish applied his business acumen to solving the problems of his discomfort, which in turn evolved into a mission to cure the discomfort of kids with cancer.

Mr Parish had climbed ‘Kili’ to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Foundation and, while on the trip, decided he would start a new annual adventure-based fundraising event to raise money for cancer research, called The Adventurers.

Next month, a year and a flood of family torment later, he will set off with 19 ‘Adventurers’ to climb Europe’s tallest peak, Mont Blanc, with the relief that Elliot’s most recent scans revealed his brain tumour and spinal cancer modules are no longer present.

The Adventurers have already raised $500,000 and are on a mission to raise $180,000 more to buy a 3D molecular imaging machine for PMH.

The Mont Blanc Project, as it is known, has attracted the support of local small business owners, fellow parents of kids with cancer and the local Perth community.

Wright’s Hardware owner and WA Business News 40under40 winner, Damione Wright, is an old friend of Mr Parish’s and has become involved in the fundraising project.

Mr Wright said the project immediately struck a chord with him and had impressed upon him the importance of maintaining a healthy balance in business of striving for profit and providing support to the local community.

“I wanted to foster that culture in our business as well that identifies the need to give back and contribute,” he said.

Mr Parish said he recognised the ongoing need for research equipment at PMH and used what he described as his “persistent need to achieve objectives” to generate support for the hospital.

“The Adventurers has now become a group of guys and girls who are focused on the vision I started with, which was to make a difference to ward 3B,” Mr Parish told WA Business News.

Mr Parish now plans to make The Adventurers a foundation in its own right.

“I want this thing to grow into an organisation that will fund cancer research for kids on a global scale,” he said.

To that end, Mr Parish has connected with business people in Sydney, New York and London who will start new branches of the organisation and has linked in with American cancer research organisation The Cure Starts Now Foundation with the idea of combining efforts for a faster outcome.

“It’s a pointless exercise if you have got different organisations all over the world and they are all spending money on the same thing; it should be a collaborative approach,” Mr Parish said.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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