THE SEASON of giving will extend all the way through summer this year, with the organ donation and transplant healthcare charity the Herd of Hope announcing a fundraising and promotion event at Bondi Beach on Saturday, March 17 next year.
The organisers are mustering support for services to the families and loved ones of organ donors, as well as transplant recipients, which are sadly lacking across rural and regional Australia.
Summer crowds jam in on Bondi’s famous strip of sand like a mob of cattle, but this time city crowds will get to witness the real thing, as a crack team of stockmen drive 30 head of heifers along the promenade and onto southern end of the beach.
“We are not only championing healthcare in the bush. This will be an internationally recognised event and a first-ever cattle muster at one of Australia’s most iconic locations,” said one of the organisers Megan McLoughlin.
People can sponsor heifers in the cattle drive, or you can donate to the overall cause.
As well as promoting organ donation, the event will muster support for research with the University of South Australia to develop counselling services for organ donor families and transplant care nurses in the bush to guide organ recipients through the challenging recovery process.
“The Herd of Hope needs to be such a big event, because the needs of the bush are so significant,” Ms McLoughlin said.
“We want everyone, from the country and the city, you are all welcome. Come down and support us, this is such an important cause.”
The event will be a family-focused affair kicking off in the morning, with a country breakfast cook up and the best of the ag industries showing off where our food comes from, as well as a petting-zoo for little ones.
Sydney’s eastern suburbs are rallying behind the cause, including Daphne Benaud, the well-known resident and wife of cricketing great Richie Benaud.
"Organ Donation is a wonderful gift which saves many lives but not enough people are aware of how they can help. The event will make you proud to be an Australian,” Mrs Benaud said.
The Hayes family, Undoolya Station near Alice Springs, donated the cattle to the Herd of Hope.
Of the 74,000 deaths that occurred in 2015, 920 resulted in organ transplants. Australia ranks 22 in international organ donation rates, one of the lowest for a developed nation.
Sick people in the bush are hundreds or event thousands of kilometres from expert care. Those awaiting transplants may be forced to relocate to major cities, to be close to transplant facilities at major hospitals when organs become available.
A significant improvement is needed to narrow the disparity between those on the urban and regional transplant waiting list.
NSW RSPCA will contribute animal welfare guidance and support. The Herd of Hope has partnered with the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW and many commercial partners.