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Leukaemia Foundation Speech

16:15, 27/02/2018: During October and November last year, I embarked on a 100-kay walk around Bennelong. Along the way I played table tennis with schoolkids, had coffee at local shops, talked tennis with the residents of aged-care villages and said hi to everyone I met as I walked down their streets. It was all for a great cause: to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation in memory of my dear friend and mentor Lew Hoad. I’m proud to report that the wonderful people of Bennelong raised over $11,000 for this cause. These are much-needed funds for the Leukaemia Foundation and the fantastic work they do.

The Leukaemia Foundation works to improve the lives of those affected by blood cancer. While the foundation is very proud of the wonderful work it does, support and assistance must continue to evolve as the needs and aspirations of people living with blood cancer and their families also evolve. I would like to thank Phil Gibson, the acting general manager; Claire Hanson, the community relations coordinator; and all the hardworking people at the Leukaemia Foundation for their support during the walk.

The start of the walk coincided with the Leukaemia Foundation’s annual Light The Night event. Light The Night is a unique event, bringing Australia’s blood cancer community together in more than 100 locations to remember and reflect during a moving ceremony and a short lantern walk. It was a magical sight, watching the parade of lanterns marching along North Ryde Oval. I couldn’t think of a better way to start the walk.

The community’s support for the walk was incredible. Thank you to many of the local companies and their staff for their kind donations, particularly AstraZeneca, who raised over $2,000. Medtronic, Hyundai and 3M were also some of the highest-donating businesses.

I would also like to send a big thankyou to the schools of Bennelong for your support. During the walk I visited nearly every school within my electorate. I can say proudly that the Bennelong schools—I’m sorry, to my colleagues—are the best schools, with the best teachers and the best students, in the country. Their generosity surpassed all expectations. A special mention must go to the North Ryde Public School, Gladesville Public School and Holy Spirit Primary School, who were amongst the highest-donating schools. North Ryde Public School raised the most money, collecting nearly $700.

This meant that two of their students got the privilege of shaving my head for the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave campaign. The shaving took place at the end of my walk. I crossed the finish line at Eastwood Oval, where I hosted a celebratory barbecue for the community. The students from North Ryde Public School, along with representatives of AstraZeneca, took to me with the clippers, shaving my long and luscious locks. My son said it might be the only haircut I’ll ever have, time permitting!

Again, thank you to everyone for their very kind donations and to the Leukaemia Foundation for making the walk such a success. I look forward to the next one.