11/12/2020 - 19:09

Tougher together: fundraising events remain strong despite COVID

11/12/2020 - 19:09


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During a turbulent year, supporters for the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research have continued to rally behind the major events that underpin vital cancer research in WA.

Both the MACA Cancer 200 Ride for Research and the Walk for Women’s Cancer went virtual in 2020 to accommodate COVID restrictions.

The Walk, which was due to take place in May, was pushed back to September and transitioned from an event with hundreds of people walking together, to a more personalised style that allowed participants to design their own course and timeline, alone or in smaller groups.

The event was also held over 7 days rather than the traditional single day event, both to represent the 1 in 7 Australian women who are diagnosed with breast cancer – but also to offer walkers the freedom to elect how they would like to complete their challenge.

The MACA Cancer 200 also went from a structured ride that culminated with an overnight camp and a party, into a simplified event where riders chose their own route with no minimum fundraising obligation to take part.

Due to the tougher financial circumstances faced by many and the removal of the usual $2500 fundraising minimum, the income for the event was anticipated to be around $1.9 million.

Instead, despite the challenges, 1200 riders and their supporters raised an incredible $3.7 million for the Perkins.

Even with a ‘hands off’ approach to the route and end of day celebration, the Perkins consistently ensured the riders felt loved and looked after, resulting in the event being nominated as a National Finalist at the Fundraising Institute of Australia's Awards for Excellence for Supporter Experience.

Perkins Chief Development Officer Paige Gibbs said the inspiring result was due to the unrelenting drive of the participants and sponsors toward making a difference for West Australians facing disease.

“Earlier in the year, COVID disrupted our plans and our day-to-day research capacity, but thanks to the generosity of our supporters and our partner organisations, such as MACA, the Perkins has been able to progress our efforts toward finding new and better treatments for the diseases that impact our loved ones,” Ms Gibbs said. 

“Our wonderful walkers and riders are incredibly dedicated and motivated, both with the events themselves and with the very important cause that they’re contributing to and we’re enormously grateful for that.” 

The Walk for Women’s Cancer also saw a surprising result with the virtual event raising almost $900,000 for breast and ovarian cancer research at the Perkins.  

The number of walkers also increased from 440 in 2019 to over 770 in 2020, with almost all of the participants stating in the post-event survey that they plan to return next year.

Barring major disruptions from the pandemic, the 2021 event will return to its original format with a planned route and group celebration, except for one big change.

The Perkins is on the lookout for a new title sponsor to join the Walk for Women’s Cancer and to jointly develop this iconic local event.

Despite existing in an age of app-based dating, the Perkins went an old fashioned route of placing a personal ad in Business News in the hope of securing a suitor. 

The ad on page 3 of this edition of Business News, explained that the Walk is recently single and seeking a long-term mutually beneficial partnership. 

WA brands looking for an opportunity to meet a wonderful group of women and men, while joining the fight against the cancers that rob us of our mothers, sisters, aunts and friends, are invited to partner with the Perkins in making cancer history.

We can offer long walks on the beach (and throughout our scenic city), good corporate citizenship, an innovative way to engage staff and build brand loyalty, and a special opportunity to give back. 

Cancer research is fundamentally important for creating a healthier future, but it doesn’t always need to be sombre.

The Perkins approaches medical research with heart and wit, a philosophy that thousands of West Australians have championed in the Walk and the Ride.

Now all that’s needed is to find a good fit with an organisation that prides itself on generosity, kindness and a desire to make a difference.

If you want to give back, increase your community involvement and stand out of from the pack – let’s get together.

Interested parties can get more information by contacting Kirstyn Johnson at kirstyn@perkins.org.au or calling her on 08 6151 0754. 

What begins as a coffee date could blossom into a productive partnership that leads to better outcomes for all of WA.


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