4 December 2019

The Tomakin garage sale that has raised $2 million for the Kids Cancer Centre

| Alex Rea
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Volunteers at the Rally celebrate over $2million donated to the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation. Photo: Alex Rea

A $2 million celebration was held at The Rally for Recovery last Saturday. The milestone marked the amount of money raised for the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation and Kids Cancer Centre (KCC) – all from a modest shed in Tomakin.

The Rally for Recovery has been raising funds for KCC since 2001. The Rally, as it is affectionately known, sells second hand and donated items such as furniture, homewares, books and plants from a shed on Ainslie Parade.

President, Rally for Recovery Ken Sloane and his band of volunteers clean and fix up the donations and pick up and deliver in their little truck.

On Saturday morning there was a free sausage sizzle, cake stall and face painting to thank the community for their support.

Peter and Liz are two of the regular volunteers at The Rally. Photo: Alex Rea

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation CEO Nicola Stokes was on her way but was stopped by the highway closures connected to the bushfires.

“To raise more than $2 million is an extraordinary achievement,” she says.

“We are so proud of our enduring partnership with Rally for Recovery. Such an amazing effort!”

The Kids Cancer Centre at the Sydney Children’s Hospitals, Randwick, has been treating children for cancer and blood disorders in NSW, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region for almost 50 years. They provide a comprehensive service for the diagnosis and management of children and adolescents with any cancer or blood disorder.

Over the time that Rally for Recovery has been supporting the KCC, amazing advances have been made in the treatment of childhood cancer and survival rates have improved dramatically.

“Their generous support of clinical trials and oncology research and care has helped to ensure Kids Cancer Centre leads the field and give countless families a reason to hope,” Ms Stokes says.

“They say that from little things big things grow, and that certainly applies to Rally for Recovery.

“At that first garage sale back in 2001, when $270 was raised, I wonder if anyone would have imagined that 18 years later you would still be holding sales regularly every week.

“Over the time that Rally for Recovery has been supporting Kids Cancer Centre, amazing advances have been made in the treatment of childhood cancer, and survival rates have improved dramatically.

“Kids Cancer Centre’s vision is to reach a 100% cure rate and you have been alongside them every way on that journey.

“Nevertheless, the cancer journey is long and difficult and places significant demands on the children being treated. So when they reach the end of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, it is a reason to celebrate – and we mark the occasion by ringing the Milestone Bell which hangs in the Oncology wards.

“The bells are inscribed with the words COURAGE, STRENGTH and HOPE and staff gather around with family and friends to sing a special song written by the Hospital’s Music Therapist, which is called ‘Happy End of Treatment Day’, and the child rings the bell and the family goes home.

“It’s a moment of pure joy for everyone – and a symbol of hope for other families who are still on the long journey towards recovery.

“I know that you also ring a bell to signify the end of trade.”

Ken Sloan was presented with a bell as to mark achievement buy Skye Chalmers from the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“Today we would like to present you with your very own Milestone Bell to symbolise the connection you have with our Hospital,” she says.

“Every time you ring it you will be reminded of the extraordinary gift of hope that you are giving to every sick child across this State.”

The brass bell is accompanied by a plaque explaining the significance and will be rung to mark the start of trading at the Rally.

Skye Chalmers accepts a further $80,000 donation from The Rally for Recovery at Tomakin on Saturday. Photo: Alex Rea

If that wasn’t enough, Mr Sloan then produced another cheque for a further $80,000 raised for the Foundation.

Mr Sloan also thanked the ongoing sponsors and supporters of the Rally including Eurobodalla Shire Council, IGA The Moorings, Bakers Delight and Autohaus Batemans Bay.

Damon Struchlak from Autohouse has been a sponsor of the Rally. Photo: Alex Rea

Mr Sloan says the Rally was always in need of more volunteers, especially strong ones for moving the heavy furniture.

The Rally is open for trade from 9 am to 12 pm Wednesdays and Saturdays on Ainslie Parade, Tomakin.

Having a cleanout or moving house? They accept all household items in good saleable condition, sometimes even the kitchen sink.

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Congratulations to Ken Sloane for his vision of Rally for recovery and commitment to this cause. No child should need to have to dig deep for courage to attend hospital regularly or strength to face painful weekly blood tests, take toxic chemotherapy and ensure many side affects. You give all children and families hope the Kids Cancer Centre will one day achieve their goal of 100 percent cure rate. That will be an incredible achievement guaranteeing every child diagnosed a future life with their families. Ring your new bell with pride.

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