COLUMN: Please join The Fight

HOMEGROWN HERO: Paralympian Paul Nunnari gets a warm welcome from students at Mt Carmel Catholic College as he promotes next month's 24 Hour Fight Against Cancer Macarthur. It's time to register your team.
HOMEGROWN HERO: Paralympian Paul Nunnari gets a warm welcome from students at Mt Carmel Catholic College as he promotes next month's 24 Hour Fight Against Cancer Macarthur. It's time to register your team.

I SAW an article recently that said we're donating a lot less to charities than we did a decade ago. Hmmm.

I reckon Aussies are still big-hearted, but our wages continue to stagnate as our bills rise, needing belt tightening... and perhaps there's also some cynicism.

Most of us have seen those stories about big-name charities spending around a third of donations on marketing, expenses and staffing.

Which is why I have embraced Macarthur's unique 24 Hour Fight Against Cancer since it was founded in 2005.

It's marketing is provided by the local media, online promos, and word of mouth, while in-kind sponsorships provides stuff needed, and its organising committee - led by my good mates Warren Morrison and Sue McGarrity - consists entirely of unpaid volunteers. (I know that cos I'm one of them.)

Which means that almost every cent raised goes exactly where it is needed: helping local people fighting cancer. It is an incredible event that is of Macarthur, for Macarthur, in Macarthur.

In a world of spin and lies, The Fight is a rock-solid slab of genuine goodness.

One of my volunteer tasks is organising "Fred's Push", held each year in honour of the late Fred Borg - founder of The Fight - with local Paralympian Paul Nunnari pushing his racing wheelchair from school to school, promoting the main walkathon event on October 19-20.

In a world of spin and lies, our 24 Hour Fight Against Cancer is a slab of genuine goodness.

We had a great time....

Thanks to the schools who welcomed us on Friday: Mount Carmel Catholic College, Pied Piper Kindy at Raby, Eagle Vale High, Magdalene College and St Justin's and St Benedict's at Oran Park. Next year, we're thinking of heading back into Wollondilly for a rural route.

Paul's school push is, traditionally, a reminder to us all to start organising and registering our teams for next month's main walkathon.

Please join us ... particularly teams from Camden and Wollondilly. The event might be held in Campbelltown (the council provides the athletics stadium free) but it is a truly regional cause aiding Campbelltown and Camden hospitals.

Remember ... you DO NOT have to walk for 24 hours!

That is how long the event lasts. Walk for 24 minutes if you want. The goal is to turn up, join the huge crowd of fellow locals, and raise some money for a great cause. Most people arrive for the start at 10am on Saturday, October 19, but people are constantly coming and going. Many stay overnight (great fun).

There's lots of events, food, bands on stage, and the huge number of young people attending is always inspiring.

I began supporting The Fight because I thought it was great for our community soul. But... with the death of my beautiful niece Niamh from cancer in 2013... it took on a much deeper meaning for my family, as it has for so many other families.

As my ever-strong sister-in-law, Samantha, told the crowd after Niamh's death:

"Instead of taking two hours to travel [to Randwick Children's Hospital] and two hours to travel back home, we were able to access Paediatric Ambulatory Care Service and Paediatrics at Campbelltown Hospital for Niamh's blood work and port care after her treatment. It was also the place where we accessed palliative care in the end stages. Without the 24 Hour Fight, these services and wonderful health care professionals would not exist here."

Go to 24hrfight.org.au for all the info. For a volunteer-based charity that runs on the smell of an oily rag, it achieves so much.