Jane, along with her brother, son and daughter-in-law were keen to do something to give back to the community and help children. But what?
"We’d been wanting to do something for a while,” said Jane, a Sydney Sutherland Shire local. “Then we went to a fundraiser where Col Reynolds spoke about The Kids’ Cancer Project and everything just fell into place.”
"I’ve had cancer along with all the treatment that goes with it,” she said. “It’s just something that kids shouldn’t have to go through. It made sense that we’d support a charity that funds medical research to find better treatments and a cure for children."
Having determined who they were going to support, the philanthropic family put their heads together on how.
Jane is a medical secretary, her brother Stuart a business banker, her son a web developer and daughter-in-law Laura runs an online business while looking after two young boys. They are not events specialists, yet they pooled their ideas, skills and address books and came up with a winning idea.
A fundraising dinner with a catchy name.
Shine Bright For The Kids was born and their very first event was held in 2013 at the St George Motor Boat Club, Sans Souci. Tickets went on sale for $120 per person and included a three course meal, alcohol and live entertainment. The night was a huge success with all 210 tickets, the maximum the venue could take, sold.
Ever since, the enterprising foursome has continued with their winning formula which involves generating sponsorship, gathering prizes for a silent auction, raffles and a live auction. And it’s gathering momentum.
This year, the word went around that this is one of the hottest tickets on the Shire’s community calendar. Jane was ecstatic when 60 new attendees bought tickets for the 2017 event.
"We had to knock guests back because tickets sold-out three weeks prior – it was lovely to see so many new faces,” said Jane.
Maybe it was the anticipation, maybe because these guys know how to put on a fun night, or maybe because people in the Sutherland Shire are some of the most generous on the planet, but when they had their event on 22 September, they raised a whopping $75,000 for childhood cancer research. That brings their total raised to date to $250,000.
"It’s always a good night out, the photo booth this year was a hit and the band, ‘The Hips’, was fantastic,” said Jane. “There is of course a serious side to the event. Usually we have a speaker who shares their experience being a parent of a child living with cancer. This year was different. Leigh McKeown, lost his son Dylan to neuroblastoma in 2008, he was just three years old.”
"We were very humbled and honoured Leigh wanted to speak,” said Jane. “I don’t know how he got through his speech. I was in tears. It was very courageous but equally important for him to honour his son’s memory."
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Despite raising enough money to fund three scientists over the years, the team are not resting on their laurels.
"We want to do more,” said Jane. “Immediately after this year’s event we started throwing around new ideas. I don’t want to give anything away so let’s just say a few things are in the pipeline!"
"We respect Col so much. We made a pledge to keep supporting him and raising money for The Kids’ Cancer Project until there’s no need for fundraising anymore because a cure has been found."
Follow Shine Bright For The Kids on Facebook to find out when their next event will be held. The family would like to thank Ron Lambert of Lambert Investments who has been a major sponsor from the very start, and the functions team at St George Motor Boat Club whose support is pivotal to the success of the night.