11 September 2019

$230,000 raised from Monaro Spectacular for local cancer patients

| Elka Wood
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With a 'Muriel's Wedding' theme, Bombala to Broadway led the way with 80's fashion. Photo: supplied.

With a ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ theme, Bombala to Broadway led the way with 80’s fashion. Photos: Monaro Post.

The Monaro Spectacular – a fun community dance competition that raises money for local cancer patients – has raised in excess of $230,000 in 2019!

Since 2010, The Monaro Committee for Cancer Research [MCCR] has raised nearly a million dollars, according to committee president of seven years, Sandy Scholfield.

The annual event sees groups learn a dance routine over twelve weeks and then perform at a black-tie dinner in Cooma.

Tracy Frazer has competed in the Spectacular four times, including this year and says the experience of performing is unforgettable.

“You have twelve weeks of rehearsals – it’s pretty scary, I don’t usually dance, I’d prefer to be behind the scenes,” Tracy says, adding with a laugh: “it takes a lot for me to want to strip down to swimmers in front of 400 people!”

What motivates Tracy, and so many other competitors, is seeing the results of their fundraising efforts in action.

“I don’t even know if we would have an oncology unit in Cooma if it weren’t for this money,” Tracy reflects.

The Mountain Groovers. Photo: Supplied.

One of five dance groups this year, the Mountain Groovers took inspiration from ‘The Greatest Showman.’

Cooma’s oncology unit was the first in regional NSW and was part of a pilot program in regional hospitals, Sandy Scholfield explains. Funding from MCCR has been used over the years to renovate and extend the facility.

Supporting the local oncology unit is one of three ways the fundraising money is allocated, Sandy says.

“We donate to cancer research organizations, we give local financial assistance to cancer patients and we support the Cooma oncology unit.”

In a tight region like the Snowy Monaro, it’s inevitable that sometimes those who have been on the fundraising side of things end up on the other side – as grateful recipients of financial assistance while they are receiving cancer treatment.

Smooth Operators. Photo: Supplied.

The Smooth Operators had a Rocky Horror Picture Show theme this year.

“It could be any of us, you just never, never know,” Sandy says thoughtfully. “We give about $50,000 out every year in financial assistance for people with cancer – things like fuel cards, accommodation vouchers or paying the electricity bill. Anything we can do to help while people have only one income, or in some cases, no income.”

A closed sub-committee of five people handles the financial assistance side of things and it’s a confidential service.

“Aside from the five committee members we don’t know who has applied, or received funding,” Sandy says “I only know someone has had help when they come up to me on the street and say thank you!”

The Sparkle Crew. Photo: Supplied.

‘Strictly Ballroom’ inspired The Sparkle Crew.

This year, Sandy and the committee used the movie musical ‘The Greatest Showman’ as overarching inspiration but each of the five groups had their own musical theme.

“We have a big vision and we choose who performs and what they perform but the best part is that each group doesn’t know what the others are doing so it really is a big surprise for the performers as well as the audience – for twelve weeks, all we hear is: are we doing alright?!” Sandy laughs.

As the pressure builds and opening night approaches, the groups become more competitive, Sandy says, and even the dance teachers get involved in some friendly digs.

Twelve weeks from amateurs to showtime but the Can-Do Crew did it! Photo: supplied.

Twelve weeks from amateurs to showtime but the Can-Do Crew did it, inspired by the musical ‘Hairspray.’

But seeing the groups come together for the dress rehearsal, which is open to the whole community for a gold coin donation, is unforgettable, Sandy says.

“That’s the moment you realize you have a spectacular on your hands!”

For more information, or to donate, please visit MCCR’s website or follow them on Facebook.

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Nienke Haantjens11:04 am 06 Jun 19

what a great good news article!

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