Heroes in the crowd…

Last week on Valentine’s Day, I was busy rehearsing some lines I was going to use as MC at a fund-raising function. It was the first time I’d MC’d an event where I was also on the organising committee, so there were twice as many reasons for hoping it was going to be a ripper of a night. And thankfully it was.

Called ‘The Sisterhood’, the committee did a brilliant job reaching out to Melbourne’s movers and shakers and getting them to come along and help raise much-needed funds for the cardiac research unit at St Vincent’s Hospital. As you might know, heart disease is still the biggest killer of all (when it comes to health matters) in Australia.

I’m not going to bang on about what a fab time everyone had, because if you weren’t there, then that’s just plain dull. But I do want to thank a few people who deserve special mention for going above and beyond the call of duty. And to a handful of those people, you have been elevated to hero status in my eyes and I will forever be indebted to you. Thank you. A million times – thank you.

Special thanks to:

Our amazing sponsors!

The Deck at The Prince, St Kilda

The Deck at The Prince, St Kilda

 

The Deck at The Prince in St Kilda. This stunning venue was made available through the generosity of The Melbourne Pub Group. Definitely the best place in Melbourne to stage a glamour party!

 

Bensimons diamond

Bensimons diamond

 

Bensimons Jewellers, for donating a TEN THOSAND dollar diamond for our main raffle prize.

 

 

Major sponsor, Swisse Vitamins

Major sponsor, Swisse Vitamins

 

Swisse Vitamins for donating a Spring Racing Carnival package for the main auction, including marquee tickets and Arthur Galan race wear.

 

 

Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island

 

Magnetic Island, Luxury Private Apartments and Boston Kennedy Recruitment for providing a wonderful holiday package for the main auction.

 

 

Crown Metropol

Crown Metropol

 

 

Crown Metropol for providing a glamour hotel accommodation package as a raffle prize, including dinner at Mr Hive.

 

Laurent Perrier champagne

Laurent Perrier champagne

 

 

 

Laurent Perrier for making our special champagne raffle draw possible. Easy to sell tickets when people know they’re getting a glass of such fine bubbles!

 

 

 

 

Also, to the many wonderful friends and family who bought tickets, some dipping into their pockets despite tight budgets, AND to those with enormous work loads who came despite tight schedules, AND to those whose companies also donated products for goodie bags – sending you all the biggest of hugs and thanks… xxxxxx

Kate Arnott and Mitch Catlin

Kate Arnott and Mitch Catlin

Aaron Jenkin and Sally Richardson

Aaron Jenkin and Sally Richardson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jill Hansen and Tina Millington

Jill Hansen and Tina Millington

Julie Thomas, Cathy Thomas and Jill Hansen

Julie Thomas, Cathy Thomas and Jill Hansen

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my sister, Jill (Billie) for all her love and support. And to my brother, David and sister-in-law, Penny, who came as well.

Cameron McGlinchey and Natalie Bassingthwaighte

Cameron McGlinchey and Natalie Bassingthwaighte

 

And to Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Cameron McGlinchey who came despite Nat not feeling her most comfortable right now, due to the exciting news of a second baby on the way!

 

 

 

 

Me and Fletch

Me and Fletch

 

 

And a HUGE thank you to my gorgeous, amazing and supportive husband, Fletch, who helped enormously on the night. Not only did he rally the crowd, using his best theatrical voice, when we needed everyone inside for speeches or the auction – he ALSO sang a number with Melissa Bergland, proving – one again – he is indeed a man of MANY talents.

 

 

 

THE HEROES

For me, there were also several heroes on the night – those who proved to be outstanding human beings for many reasons. Here they are:

Andrew Newcomb, surgeon

Andrew Newcomb, surgeon

(1) Andrew Newcomb, the Deputy Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at St Vincent’s Hospital. This man is a medical genius. He spoke on the night about the breakthroughs in heart surgery taking place RIGHT NOW which means we all look to him in awe. He’s performed five ground-breaking operations since December, which will revolutionise the way aortic valve replacement surgery is performed, making patients’ recovery times quicker and easier.

 

 

Kristen Kennedy (middle)

Kristen Kennedy (middle)

(2) Kristen Kennedy is one of The Sisterhood committee members. Kristen also spoke on the night, and it was one of the most heartfelt and brave speeches I’ve ever heard. Kristen took some time to decide in the weeks before the event, whether it was something she would be able to do. You will understand why…  Kristen talked about the tragic loss of her brother, Andrew, who died at just 36 years of age from a Sudden Arrhythmic episode only 18 months ago. Her words reminded everyone that heart disease doesn’t discriminate in terms of age and is an issue that affects us all.

Melissa Bergland

Melissa Bergland

 

(3) Melissa Bergland is not only a super-talented actress whom most of you will instantly recognise from the hit TV show Winners and Losers – she has a powerhouse voice! Melissa kindly agreed to sing on the night – DONATING HER TIME – which was incredibly generous. PLUS she is working very long hours on the show right now and had to start the next morning at FIVE AM!!! Definitely a hero in my book. Thank you Melissa!

 

 

 

 

 

Guardian angel

Guardian angel

 

(4) My anonymous Guardian Angel. A special friend, who doesn’t wish to be named, made an incredibly generous donation as well as proving to be an enormously special and supportive friend. Darling, I love you – thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

Rachel Holland with friend, Julian Gerner, Melbourne Pub Group

Rachel Holland with friend, Julian Gerner, Melbourne Pub Group

 

(5) Rachel Holland was the chair-person of The Sisterhood committee, for this – our second event. I’ve always known she was smart and efficient (she is a lawyer, after all…) but Rachel’s work for this Valentine’s Day event went WAY above and beyond the call of duty. She and her husband Nick are also expecting their first baby, so she took on this extra workload while also dealing with first pregnancy issues and running her own successful on-line jewellery business, Eclektica. (ECLEKTICA.com) Rach, you are a legend and a wonderful friend. Thank you for everything!

 

 

 

Finally, it has to be said. None of this would have happened without the dedication and hard work of all my ‘sisters’ in The Sisterhood Committee. Special mentions for outstanding effort goes to Amber Petty, Kate McGrath and Sarah Kennedy. Well done, girls!

The Sisterhood Committee

The Sisterhood Committee

 

 

2 thoughts on “Heroes in the crowd…

  1. Reading this post reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write to you all week, Jen, to congratulate you on your organising and MCing. You balanced recognising that the crowd was having fun with respecting the speaker and performers with ensuring that the night rolled along in a smooth way. I hope the gig was as much of a financial success as it was a social success. Particular thanks to Andrew and Kristen for sharing their stories. In appreciation, Ann Bolch

    • Hi Ann, thanks so much – not only for your lovely words – but for coming on the night. I was so chuffed and delighted to have my writing buddies there – it meant a great deal to me. And yes, we are yet to receive a final figure, but the financial outcome is well above what we had hoped to achieve so everyone is thrilled with the result. Thanks again, Jen. xx

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