Geelong Convoy smashes fundraising target

Camp Quality’s Geelong Convoy was back with a bang on the weekend, in an event that raised over $115,000 for children and families facing cancer.

Around 150 trucks and motorbikes were all shined up and ready to go, for the 50km convoy on Sunday February 27.

They departed from Avalon Raceway and travelled around the Geelong area before returning for a fun-filled day that included a Show and Shine, together with food and entertainment.

Last year the event had to be cancelled due to uncertainty surrounding Covid, but despite the brief hiatus, people came out in force to help raise money for a very worthy cause.

Camp Quality is a not for profit that provides services and programs to support children aged up to 15, who are dealing with their own cancer diagnosis, or the diagnosis of someone they love.

It provides these kids and their families with fun experiences, education, specialised cancer care, counselling and a supportive community.

Though the fundraising goal was initially set at $75,000, General Manager, Revenue at Camp Quality, Sandie Hall, says the organisers decided to up the ante. “We were a bit cheeky and five days before event, we decided to increase it to $100,000 – and we were able to raise over $115,000,” she said.

“Last year we missed the convoy, so the last one was in 2020 where we raised about $70,000. The year before that it was about $50,000. When we turned our attention to Geelong Convoy in January, we only had about $30,000 raised, so we were hopeful of getting to $75,000 over the following few weeks – and they blew it out of the water.”

Among those who participated in Geelong Convoy was the ‘For Bella’ team, who lost a family friend to cancer at just 13 years old. The team consisted of Natasha, her daughter Shantelle and partner Lane who entered six trucks in the Convoy. They had set a fundraising target of $8000 but ended up raising over $24,000 in honour of Bella.

As the highest fundraiser, the For Bella team were given Lead Truck honours for 2022.

“Shantelle and Lane were planning on doing the Convoy anyway, but when they heard that Bella passed away, they just took it to the next level and wanted to do everything they can to raise funds for Camp Quality. As we followed Bella’s fight against cancer over the years we were incredibly inspired by her strength and touched by her story,” said Natasha.

Bella Allen had been fighting Leukaemia for almost seven years and passed away on January 28, 2022.

Various businesses and communities banded together in the lead up to the event, doing what they could to add to the fundraising total. There were auctions, market days and Bunnings sausage sizzles, which all added to the end figure. “It was such a great community effort,” Hall said, singing her praises to the whole community who got involved.

“I just want to say thank you to the community. It’s just so humbling to see how friendly and warm everyone was. One of the truckies even gave me a ride in one of the trucks. There was so much warmth and generosity. It was a day for the whole family and as I welcomed each of the trucks back in through the gates, many of them had their families with them, and were so proud to be involved in the day.

“The Show and Shine, and the Convoy itself, is a culmination and celebration of fundraising efforts. Historically we’ve had some of our Camp Quality families come along too, but this year we were really careful with Covid.

“The Convoy kicks off Camp Quality’s fundraising calendar for the year. It’s an important event for us in Victoria, which is our biggest state. To have an event that has such great community backing sets the tone for the rest of the year. And kids love trucks, so it all aligns very well.”

Following the success of Geelong Convoy 2022, Hall says Camp Quality has high hopes for the future of the event. “We want to grow convoy. It’s something we want to make bigger and better. We’re hoping to see 300-400 trucks taking part in coming years,” she said.

At the Show and Shine awards, AMK Container Services took out the Best Fleet category, Shannon Baker at Membrey’s Transport won Best Truck and Mike and Georgie Boyd at Dreamcatcher were awarded with the People’s Choice award.

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