Project Fuji Sayonara Party (17 July 2011)

When it poured with rain Friday night, I thought;

‘Here we go. Julia’s Birthday Weekend – Storm Central here we come! Who in their right mind would dare plan a major fundraising event in New Farm Park and tempt fate like that? Well… it would seem that Julia would!’

Ever the optimist, Julia through caution to the wind, and did not just plan a small little get together in New Farm Park. No, in the tradition of the high bar her mother always sets, Julia put on an extravaganza. And in the tradition of Julia, all Saturday, as it pelted down with rain, she said;

‘It’ll be fine. Don’t worry.’

I worried!

But, come Sunday morning, Julia was on the money. Brilliant blue sky and blazing sunshine greeted us.

Christina was looking after us…

The Project Fuji team went into action. Dan and Emma pitched in at home, surprise guests making the trip from Melbourne just to show their support and now pitching in wherever they could. Little Madison provided comic relief.

Meanwhile Team Evelyn and Allan arrived early at New Farm Park and found an absolutely perfect spot.

Set up time came and went. Gordo’s kindly lent BBQ was fired up, and Kieran & Mark’s canopies were set up just in case the assembling clouds decided to let rip last minute with one of the weather bureau’s predicted showers.

We needn’t have worried. The sun kept shining, and the people kept turning up. More than 40 friends and family came to share in this special moment, where we remembered Christina, celebrated our fundraising achievements, enjoyed wonderful gluten free, lovingly cooked sausages, and pitched in further money for Oxfam in donations and last minute raffle ticket purchases!

First, was the speech, and as normal the nerves kicked in. There was little preparation on my behalf, and as I always do, I spoke from the heart.

I explained why I have this running obsession, what started it all, why Japan was so significant in all of this – for both me and Christina – what the Fuji Mountain Race likely has in store for me, and why Oxfam was such a great charity to align with and raise money for.

Then, it was the lucky door prizes. Evelyn had diligently dished out a ticket to everyone who’d arrived.

Two Project Fuji mugs were given away in quick succession. Then, the main prize, the kindly donated ticket for 2 people to Sirromet Winery for a free taste testing session including 1 bottle of free wine.

You could be excused for thinking B’s won the main event, her excitement was such when her number was picked out. It was so great to see! She deserved it! And, knowing her love for wine, there is no doubt she will enjoy it!

So, then it was on to the main raffle draw. My little 5 year old nephew, Bailey, trumped me and was nominated to be the first to draw out the name for first prize.

A kindly donated prize for 3 nights accomodation at Sea World Resort, including a 12 month VIP pass for 2 to Movie World, Seaworld, and Wet and Wild.

And the winner is…

Kerry (Danny) Henricks a work colleague and friend of Julia’s brother, Mark.

With Danny down in Melbourne, a quick phone call was made and he was notified.

Then it was on to second prize, a $500 Travel Voucher donated by Tourism Queensland.

It was my turn to draw the winning ticket, and whose name did I pick out? None other than Kieran Courtney, Julia’s younger cousin. He ws stoked, and needless to say, he’ll make the best of the money on a great holiday in Queensland. Present at the Sayonara Party, it was fantastic to be able to deliver the prize directly to a worthy winner.

Third prize was the kindly donated signed Brisbane Lions Football Jersey and Football by my employer, Bupa Australia.

And the winner is…

Christine Slattery, from… believe it or not, Bupa!

She was a very happy recipient when I arrived at her desk Monday morning with the jersey and football.

“My grandson will love it!” she said.

And so, the final prize, the trip for 2 to Tangalooma for a Wild Dolphin Feeding experience.

The winner is…. James Yates, a friend of Evelyn and Allan’s.

He was very thankful and a happy winner. I hope he gives the Segway’s a go when he’s over there, remembering how much my Mum enjoyed them!

With the formalities over with, it was back to socialising, and enjoying some wonderful deserts. Julia had organised some suprise gluten free Project Fuji Cup Cakes, as well as cooking up a huge amount of fudge (in Christina’s memory) and some additional home made cup cakes. I think I managed to put on about 3 kilos in the space of about 4 hours. But it was well worth it!


The rain held off, and the afternoon proved a most wonderful event. In total, we raised more than $3,500 from the Raffle and BBQ alone, which, when added to my fundraising tally, will take me over that $10,000 goal mark, and then some!

To start my race on Friday, knowing how much memory we have created for Chrisitina, and how much money we have raised, will help me start in such a positive frame of mind. I have already achieved 2/3 of what I set out to do. I have helped us all remember Christina, and I have made my $10,000 mark.

Now, all that is left, is that last 1/3 – to run up Mt Fuji… I can’t wait. It is just between me and that mountain now…

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