Graphic: Gala dinner
The Outback Car Trek has raised $30 million over 30 years and to celebrate, a dinner was held at Sydney’s Luna Park and attended by trekkers, supporters and friends.
After a full day on the job in Dubbo, Flying Doctor Andy Caldin travelled to Sydney to speak to attendees about his role, and to show trekkers how their fundraising translates to services on the ground.
Dr Caldin recalled his dream of working in regional Australia, sparked on a dreary day in England as he sat at home watching 'The Flying Doctors' - and how at 32 he managed to convince wife Alexandra and four children George, Isaac, Poppy and Rudy to move from their home in the UK to Dubbo.
Patient speakers Joe and Mel Hughes came from Cobar to speak about their experience with the Flying Doctor. In his 30s, Joe had a serious motorbike accident, leaving him in a coma for three days with a broken back.
Rescued by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Joe and his family shared first hand how the rescue allowed him to recover and follow his passion of working with brumbies to help others. For trekkers, this was another demonstration of how their fundraising activities can truly save lives.
These speeches were a poignant reminder of the difference the Outback Car Trek makes. The $30 million they have raised will continue to fund a range of dental and mental health services, as well as crucial infrastructure. The gala dinner auction raised an amazing $100,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service; a final, impressive push from a group of incredibly generous trekkers led by organiser Bill Patrick.