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  • Writer's pictureFiona Martin

What is the Dunga Derby all about?

by Fiona Martin, Event Officer - Dunga Derby

Three old cars covered in sticker participating in Dunga Derby

It’s Dunga Season! The Dunga Derby is a 4-day car rally, travelling from the Coast to the Country, and is the major fundraising event for Rally for a Cause. Now in its 10th year, the funds raised by the Dunga Derby will support individuals and families on the Sunshine Coast with life-limiting medical conditions or are currently experiencing circumstances beyond their control.


When a family is going through a difficult time Rally for a Cause can make their life just a little bit easier by supporting them through paying for household bills, including rent and mortgages, groceries, medical equipment or purchasing items to help with recovery.


Over the last 10 years the Dunga Derby Teams from the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast have raised over $3,000,000 to support over 300 recipients. The Sunshine Coast teams alone raised in excess of $300,000 in 2023! This year the Sunshine Coast Dunga Derby has 42 teams who are currently fundraising before hitting the track on the 15th of August.


The inspiration for Dunga Derby


Cooper was the inspiration for starting Rally for a Cause and the Dunga Derby event. In 2015 a group of friends were faced with the unthinkable – someone they loved was going through a situation where their child was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. They decided the only thing they could do was raise funds to help the family so they could focus on Cooper. Unfortunately, after a strong battle, Cooper passed away at just 6 years of age. He is our “Little Super-Hero” and will forever watch over us all on the Dunga Derby!


Meet more Dunga Derby recipients


Archer


One of the Sunshine Coast most loved recipients is Archer. Archer has a rare condition called Haddad’s syndrome which is a combination of a Respiratory condition called CCHS and Hirschsprung Disease. The most recognized symptom of CCHS is the inability to control breathing that varies in severity, resulting in the need for life-long ventilatory support during sleep for Archer.


Young boy Archer with yellow t-shirt green shorts and black sneakers  sitting on a colourful mat

Hirschsprung Disease is a bowel disease causing partial or total bowel obstructions. This required surgery at 4 days old leaving Archer with only 1/3 of his bowel. At 4 weeks old Archer was back in for his next major surgery and had a tracheostomy inserted into his neck to attach his new mechanical ventilation machine. This ventilator machine would now be Archer’s life support every time he fell asleep.


So that Archer could lead as normal of life as any 4-year-old, Rally for a Cause was able to provide a backpack sized Portable C02 monitor which has allowed him to start prep in 2023.



Natalie


Just 20 minutes after Natalie Hunter arrived in hospital on February 15, she received some devastating news.


Natalie Dunga Derby Recipient

"The doctors took my hand which was really nice and sat me down after my CT scan and said you've got Stage 4 bowel cancer", said Natlie, 43. "Literally life just turned upside down, like someone emptied out the bucket of toys."


In less than 24 hours, Natalie was rushed in colostomy surgery. In the lead up to her hospital admission.


"Natalie is nothing but determined to conquer bowel cancer, which claims more lives between age 25 - 44 than any other cancer.



Life as I knew it has completely changed and it's all-hands-on-deck on surviving this disease. I have what it takes, but it's going to be a long road."


Max


Little Max is a locally grown fighter. This energetic four-year-old, whose favourite activity in the world is swimming, has been battling a form of childhood leukemia since he was just 18 months old.


Max with pink heart shaped spectacle wide smile and black t-shirt

Max has faced countless forms of treatment - including a complete bone marrow transplant, and his family has endured hopes of remission and now the heartbreak at the news that there is no further treatment available in the country.


The Robinson family has been back and forth from Brisbane for most of little max's life and his Mum says this next battle will be the toughest yet!




Nikita


Nikita is a 32-year-old wife and mother of two girls and diagnosed with breast cancer.


Nikita Dunga Derby recipient sitting on a cane chair with her two daughters

During a checkup it was found that her cancer had spread to her ovaries, requiring another surgery.


Nikita has had multiple surgeries due to her cancer spreading and is required to have chemotherapy every 3 weeks for the rest of her life.


Nikita has been supported through covering medical appointments and bills as well as household bills and vouchers.






Dunga Derby supporting Sunshine Coast families


On the Sunshine Coast Rally for a Cause has currently helped 51 recipients totally in excess of $300,000. A Recipient nomination is received every 2 weeks here on the Sunshine Coast. Without the fundraising efforts of our teams and the generous sponsorship of local businesses like ABA. Advice Beyond Accounting, these families would not have received the support that was needed, all of which Rally for a Cause is so grateful for!



Note: All images and stories used with permission.


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