Laughter can lighten the load

THE Chandon Supper Club is finally coming to Perth, and raising money for a good cause has never been so much fun. Guests pay $250 to be whisked away to a secret location for an intimate dinner, complete with fine wine, good conversation and a touch of glamour. Launched in Sydney in 2004, this unique fundraiser for non-profit group Camp Quality has had a great response in Melbourne and Adelaide in 2005 and will launch in Perth on May 18. More than 35 of Perth’s top restaurants will each donate and host an elaborate dinner for 12 with proceeds expected to exceed $100,000 in WA and $1 million Australia wide. Camp Quality provides educational and year-round support programs to children with cancer and their families, trying to ease concerns associated with the stresses of medical treatment. The group receives no government funding and relies solely upon the generosity of local business, service groups, clubs and individuals to fund camps for over 1,200 children and their families. Camp Quality WA area manager Christine Allen said only four full-time staff and a team of 150 volunteers looked after more than 240 families a year. “Our trained and experienced volunteers run between 30 and 40 camps a year where children under 18 are looked after and entertained while their parents have some time out to relax and be pampered too,” she said. Fully-catered weekend getaways and family retreats are also offered so families can re-connect and organise their own activities or mix with others in a similar position. Ms Allen said the group received referrals primarily through “word of mouth” and in particular from the children’s oncology ward at Princess Margaret Hospital. “At any given time there are 500 children living with cancer in our state and fortunately medical treatment has advanced so much that approximately 75 per cent of those children will lead long and productive lives after treatment,” she said. Treatments for cancer often require dramatic changes to a family’s lifestyle and a routine can develop around hospitals, treatments, doctors and health issues. Ms Allen said Camp Quality made weekly visits to the oncology ward to assist with babysitting, shopping, and even organises complimentary restaurant meals, beauty treatments and massages for parents while their children are looked after. Children don’t miss out either, with organised activities including flying fox rides, discos, yacht cruises, movies, swimming, treasure hunts, picnics and sing alongs. Parents will also be invited to the Chandon Supper Club event and will be escorted to a secret location where Perth’s top restaurateurs will provide a unique degustation menu. The Mead Group is providing four restaurants and two luxury boats for the evening and executive chief Anthony Posniak believes the occasion will be a memorable one. “Many of us live such a privileged and lucky life that it’s important to give something back and help others not so fortunate,” he said. “Essentially, we need 420 people to sit down in the middle of May and enjoy great food and wine for a compelling cause.”

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