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 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 Jewellers, for donating a TEN THOSAND dollar diamond for our main raffle prize.
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, Luxury Private Apartments and Boston Kennedy Recruitment for providing a wonderful holiday package for the main auction.
Crown Metropol for providing a glamour hotel accommodation package as a raffle prize, including dinner at Mr Hive.
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
Aaron Jenkin and Sally Richardson
Jill Hansen and Tina Millington
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
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
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.
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
(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)
(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.
(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!
(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
(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