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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Connie's Diary: Soundtrack and T-Shirts

Soundtrack


In the background we are working on something really exciting. We are trying to release a Love Your Sister Soundtrack. It has been so amazing, it started when Brock Mathers, country music star, came forward and offered proceeds of his single sales on I-tunes towards our fundraising efforts. Then Shadow Game, a Melbourne rock band offered us a track called unicycle heart, and it got us thinking, perhaps we could have our own soundtrack? Sam and I have been talking to everyone we know in music and we now have 9 songs for our soundtrack including 4 that have been written just for us! It is one of the most exciting things we are working on, I can’t believe we get our own soundtrack! It is amazing. The generosity of the talented musicians who have contributed their artistic talents and hard work to Love Your Sister has really taken my breath away. I am constantly surprised by the myriad of ways that people come to us and help, this is another example of people opening their hearts and giving their expertise and hard work to the cause.


It is so exciting, I can’t wait til we release it and everyone can have a listenJ


T-shirts


Love Your Sister T-shirts are finally on the way! I am excited to announce that they will be available by the end of May! We will be selling them roadside when Sam stops, and Em and Tony Hayes at Cleverbits are working on an online shop so soon you will be able to buy them online too. It’s all very exciting.


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We literally have stacks of T-shirts! Yay J


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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Connie's Diary: Ord River and Chemo Holiday

Ord River


Before this epic odyssey began I set Sam a number of challenges to complete along the way. One of them was to cross the Ord River dam at night. Apparently if you shine a flashlight up the river you see hundreds of red eyes looking back at you in the night. I have read books and seen documentaries on the Ord River and it sounds amazing, something I would really love to see.


Sam is there now, and I am not well enough to join him there. It is a sad moment for me, because the Ord was part of this journey that I didn’t want to miss out on. He went out on the Ord today and the photos look magnificent. At the moment I will have to enjoy it vicariously and be thankful that at least one of us got to see it. I look forward to seeing him again and hearing all about it.


Disappointed about chemo holiday


At about this time last year I was feeling really tired and worn out and I had a break from the chemo for about a month. It really refreshed me and had me walking with a spring in my step. I didn’t realise it, but I was expecting a similar effect from this chemo holiday. I am disappointed that I don’t feel better, it hasn’t really done anything to rejuvenate me or recharge my batteries so far, here’s hoping I get some results as time goes by. Maybe I will be feeling better by the time I start chemo again, who knows, it’s possible.


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Friday, 21 June 2013

Connie's Diary: Home and Thank You NT!

Home to boys


After an eventful and action packed trip to Darwin Love Your Sister went on their way, on to the next town to spread the word and raise money, and I went home to my boys. I miss them terribly when I go away and it is always lovely to see them all when I get home. Hammy ran up to me and jumped on my lap (in the wheelchair at the airport) and asked ‘Where is my present mummy?’ They get a little gift every time I go away for Love Your Sister because I feel guilty for deserting them, especially when I know my time is limited. This time I got them little pewter animals, a frilled neck lizard and a crocodile which started lots of lovely conversation bout native animals. It’s great to be home.


Thanks Darwin and all the Territorians who supported LYS Darwin


I find myself overwhelmed once more by the generosity and community mindedness of people and businesses who give what they can, think of ways to raise money, and spread the word far and wide, for women not to fall into the booby trap, to be breast aware.


Express Signs did vehicle wrapping advertising that Love Your Sister was coming to town. They were eye catching and effective and donated totally free of charge. 


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Yamaha Darwin provided discounted service and tyres so the Love Your Sister could keep going on the journey, Thanks for helping us out at late notice and much discounted rates. This sort of help keeps the wheels turning on the whole event and doesn’t go unnoticed by us.


Campari paid for meals and provided great prizes for raffles and auctions, and the delightful Jennifer helped us organise events and made things run smoothly.


The media in Darwin have been so helpful, helping us get the word out to people that we were in town, without them we wouldn’t have had so many people turning up knowing about the Love Your Sister cause so a huge thanks to the following media for all of your support.


Hot 100 Radio – Tom & Courts


Mix 104.9 - Mel Little


ABC Radio


NT News


Channel 9


Channel 10



And check out this extensive list of businesses who contributed prizes for the raffles and auctions that all helped in raising the huge amounts that we raised at all of the events here.


Viva La Vida


Territory Sports Medicine


Sculpt Hair & Beauty


Darwin Airport Shuttle


Springfield Butchers


KTM Massage


Mary River Wilderness Retreat


Happy 2 B Home Pet Minding


Arafura Blue Water Charters


Parap Day Spa


Equinox Fishing Charters


Ooolala Beauty


Flight Path


Deckchair Cinema


Chic Signs


Dominoes Pizza


Adelaide River Queen


Bewitched Jewellry


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Monday, 17 June 2013

Connie's Diary: Stay with Steve and Michelle

Today was a day to say goodbye to Sam (and Jonno and Ley Ley) again. I said good bye from Fed Square, and then again from Adelaide, but this time it crippled me. I just didn’t want to say good bye, perhaps it’s because I don’t know when I’ll see him again. Perhaps it’s because I have ended up in hospital this trip and it reminded me that I am unwell, that all this is uncertain and that I am terminal. I was a blithering wreck, hardly able to stand up I didn’t want to say goodbye so badly. After a very emotional good bye I spent the day resting. Then, after being ferried around Darwin and taken to the emergency ward by our beautiful hosts, Michelle Teather and Steve Ellis, I finally got to stop and have a chat with them tonight. It was great to sit, eat together, and chat. We talked, we laughed, we cried and then we laughed some more. It was great to have some time to sit down and get to know each other and we had such a good night that I was so glad I stayed longer.


When I cried I went and got a roll of toilet paper, to use as tissues, and Michelle exclaimed ‘We do have tissues here you know!’ She had been finding rolls of toilet paper around the house the whole time we had been there, ‘cos Sam and I, and the crew were all grabbing a roll whenever anyone teared up. We joked that I was crying so much that I needed a string around my neck to hang the roll on, and Steve, low and behold produced a camping toilet roll holder, on a string for me to carry around when I am teary. It was so funny I cried tears of laughter, and needed the toilet roll again.


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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Connie's Diary: Monsoons & Ducks Nuts Farewell

Monsoons


Thanks again goes out to Jennifer Kollman for giving the boys the opportunity to strip for a room full of lovely ladies, it will go down in the Love Your Sister History as one of the most interesting dares of all.


There are some things a sister never needs to be privy to -  and a strip show is one of them, so even if I had been feeling well, I obviously would have avoided this one. I will leave it up to your imagination and the memories of the ladies who attended and comment no further on this fundraiser!


Ducks Nuts Farewell


The lovely folk at Duck’s Nuts gave Sam and the crew a farewell breakfast today. I stayed back and slept and to be honest wallowed in my misery about saying goodbye. It was lovely for the crew to have a send off from Darwin, as the territorians have stolen our hearts by being so supportive and enthusiastic, not to mention generous. Thanks Duck’s Nuts.


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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Connie's Diary: Project Cross & Hibiscus

Project Cross


Channel Ten’s The Project have been big Love Your Sister Supporters since the beginning. Today we did another cross. It just doesn’t get any less nerve wracking, even after practice. I truly don’t know how Carrie and the team do it, AND make it look so easy. It was great to chat to the guys on the desk again, they are so lovely and down to earth and their support for LYS is really heartwarming. I was glad that I didn’t miss this cross as well, after the disappointment of missing the Today Show cross I couldn’t have missed another thing.


Hibiscus


Carmel Kennedy organised an event at The Hibiscus Bar, which does a topless night. Who would be more concerned about breast cancer than women who need them for their work, and the men who enjoy it from the other side of the bar? I think this fundraiser was a stroke of genius because it is such a poignant message when you are at a topless bar! I thought I would be uncomfortable seeing breasts everywhere, when I don’t have any anymore, but it wasn’t uncomfortable at all, just part of the night. There was a huge raffle and auction and so many people came along to support the cause. In one night, they raised over $7000! Although I left not long into the event to go back to the hotel and get some rest I got to meet some people and got the vibe that it was going to shape up into a big night and a good fundraiser.


I went back to the Vibe/Adina and had dinner in bed and a big rest. I think that the chips were the best chips I have ever had, and I am somewhat of a hot sip fanatic, so that is really saying something. After my yummy vegies and delicious chips with aioli I put my feet up and had a big rest. I am starting to get my strength back, but have delayed my flight home for a couple of days in the hope that I will feel stronger soon and more confident to fly in a few days.


There was a delivery from The Silver Grevillea at the hotel. They delivered a lovely basket of goodies and some beautiful flowers for us to enjoy. I am constantly surprised by people generosity and love, this is yet another example of people giving what they can and sharing in the Love Your Sister experience.


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Me and Michelle Teather with the lovely flowers from The Silver Grevillea.


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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Connie's Diary: Bendigo Bank & Scott & Liam by the Pool

Bendigo Bank


Bendigo Bank community branches and the Community Enterprise Foundation have been getting behind Love Your Sister all along the way, and today in Raintree Park, they presented us with 2 fat cheques from their fundraising efforts in the Northern Territory. They really do give back to the communities that support them, and get involved to make a difference. Thanks Bendigo Darwin, for this mammoth effort!


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Scott and Liam by the pool


In between fundraisers today Sam went and had a dip in the pool at the luxurious Vibe/Adina hotel that put the boys up for the Darwin stay. Sam and I were having a chat, we had the pool to ourselves. It was serene and peaceful, I was sitting on the edge dangling my feet in the pool when 2 guys came along for a swim. They were young, probably in their twenties, maybe early thirties. I don’t know why, but I was surprised when one of them recognised Sam and said ‘aren’t you that guy on the unicycle?’ This started a lovely conversation, they were so interested in Love Your Sister, so nice to Sam and me, just all round nice guys, and it was so good to see that men are interested in Love Your Sister as well. Before we left they gave us a huge donation, I think they gave us everything in their wallets, it was so touching, they gave all they had in support of Sam and Love Your Sister. I was reflecting on it later with Sam and he said that it is very moving, and that I would be surprised by how often this sort of thing happens on the road, where people give donations, small and large. He calls them doughies, short for donations, and there are various types, mostly roadside doughies, but Scott and Liam’s was a poolside doughie. I felt privileged to witness this poolside doughie.




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Sunday, 9 June 2013

Connie's Diary: Raintree Park

Raintree Park is right in the middle of Darwin, or it seems to be to me, an outsider and we had a bbq and get together there today. Thanks to Darwin City Council, we were able to use this space for fundraising and meeting people and spreading the booby trap awareness message. I was late, but I eventually summoned up the energy to go along and I was so glad I did. When I arrived Sam was talking on the microphone, addressing the crowd and I went up and stood next to him while he was talking about me, he was so happy to see me, but then, unexpectedly, he handed to microphone over to me, I was so unprepared, but I had a chat with the crowd and the day progressed nicely.


One Mob are a group of dancers from different tribes around the Northern Territory. They danced and played music and were wonderful. The dance and music was so expressive and it was great to have some custodians of the land welcome us and invite us to Darwin. I felt honoured to be welcomed in this way.


Then Mick cracked his whip, what an amazing skill, he makes it look so easy, cracking his whip at a rate of notes, and so musically it sounded like the beat of a song, and all without breaking sweat. Sam gave it a go and mastered it after about 10 tries, then he was challenged to crack the whip whilst riding a unicycle – and he did it. When he completed the challenge everyone screamed and clapped madly, there was a real sense of achievement amongst everyone there, it was a triumphant moment. I had a go and it was, lets say, pitiful, no whip cracking for me. Mick also kindly donated his DVD and a whip for the auction at Hibiscus later today. He was a great guy, very skilled and very humble and kind, thanks Mick!


Tanya is our tourism superstar!  We’re not sure where she finds the time, but she also volunteers for a number of charities and the NT equivalent of the SES.  I have no trouble picturing her hanging out of a chopper rescuing a wayward tourist.  Tanya got us hotel rooms and airport transfers and a host of other things!  



Sam’s phone never stops ringing, and today I was reminded that he will answer it whenever possible, even when he is busy. Someone presented him with a snake at today at Raintree park, and at first he recoiled (as anyone should when someone puts a snake around their neck – in my opinion), but he became accustomed to it after a little while and was even answering the phone and conducting business as usual – with a snake wrapped around his neck. This ride is really opening his mind and opening up to a whole range of opportunities and challenges that one doesn’t normal face in everyday life. I love that he will try anything in the name of Love Your Sister.


Sam’s friend from forever ago, and our very first Darwin Helper!  Raintree Park is Sophie’s doing, and most of it single-handedly.  Thanks Sophie, Raintree Park was a very special event and we couldn’t have done it without you.



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Friday, 7 June 2013

Connie's Diary: Precinct Tavern & Today Show Cross

Precinct Tavern


I missed the Precinct Tavern event as well, too tired, but I am sure Sam had enough fun for both of us! The idea was that if I rest tonight I might be OK for the live cross to The Today Show in the morning and for tomorrow’s events, We’ll see.  


Thanks to Jennifer Kollman for organising this great night and for thinking of so many ways to raise extra money for the cause.


Today show cross


I woke up at 8:30 and realised that I had missed my alarms (I set 3 last night) and missed 2 calls from Sam and a call from a private number. I was so disappointed. Again, I had slept through stuff I really wanted to do. I wondered how the cross went, and because of the time difference, I was lucky enough to catch it. Sam was really sweet, he sent me a really cute message saying that he hopes I am feeling better soon, and Karl Stefanovic was charming and interested as he always is. He and the Today Show have been so incredibly supportive of Love Your Sister, and have helped us raise awareness and money for vital research. I was really disappointed to have missed the cross, but no sooner had I watched the cross my phone rings, it is a private number. I could have fallen over with excitement when the voice on the other end of the phone said it was Karl Stefanovic! He had called to see how I was feeling given that I hadn’t been well enough to do the cross. I was gobsmacked and I don’t think I could string a sensible sentence together I was so star struck. It was such a lovely gesture of kindness, and it really perked me up and got me inspired to at least try to go to some of the functions today.


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Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Connie's Diary: Crocosaurus Cove

After being discharged from hospital, officially, I headed back to Steve and Michelles to sleep some more. I was too tired to make it to Sam’s diving with a crocodile experience at Crocosaurus Cove. Sam is being very stoic about all these dares, embracing the fear and trying to make the most of every experience. All I can say about this one is that I am glad it was him not me who had to get in the Perspex box and plunge into the water with a massive croc!


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The Bendigo Bank held a fundraising raffle, and the prize was to go in the cage with Sam! I can’t believe they sold any tickets, but apparently there are lots of people who would jump in a cage and swim with crocs, because they raised a heap of money and Michael McKelligott was the winner of the raffle.


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Thanks to Susan O’Loughlin at Crocosaurus Cove for organising this hair raising dare and to Mick Murray at the Bendigo Bank who co-ordinated the raffle for the companion diver.


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Monday, 3 June 2013

Connie's Diary: Alan Walker Cancer Center

By the time I had finished at Wulagi Primary and the radio stations I was well and truly exhausted again, so instead of continuing with the events planned for the day,  headed back to my hospital bed. I was only there for another couple of hours before they discharged me anyway, but it was a good opportunity to rest. Meanwhile Sam went off to the Alan Walker Cancer Centre to meet people affected by cancer and do a fundraiser. After that fundraiser I received some unexpected visitors, 5 women who are also breast cancer patients. They had come along to the fundraiser at the cancer centre and were all in varying stages of treatment and remission. It was a lovely surprise and I was touched by their thoughtfulness.


Thanks to Nikki Grieve to organising this great event, it was very interesting for Sam and helped us raise funds towards our goal.


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Saturday, 1 June 2013

Connie's Diary: Wulagi

Wulagi


Sam gets to visit heaps of kids in schools along the way, and this is the first time I have done a school visit with him. What a privilege it is to talk to children in their school environment about cancer and Love Your Sister. They had all dressed up in Pink and had made welcome posters that were simply adorable. While I was talking a little girl ran up from her class and gave me a huge hug. It was such a moving experience.


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After the special Love Your Sister Assembly, we were lucky enough to meet with an intimate group of students who are experiencing grief. We had a very touching little chat with a small group of kids experiencing sadness and I felt honoured that they talked to us about their loss. It gave me a glimpse into what my children will experience, and affected me profoundly. I cried with these children, and later when I was alone and reflected on it, I cried for these children, then I cried for my boys, who, before long will lose their own mummy. I wish there was something I could do to ease their pain, some way that I could prepare them for what they are going to have to experience at a young age.


Thanks to Jacqui, Matilde and Leilani for getting us involved with Wulagi and to Susan Kilgour, Principle who worked with us to organise this great event and Karen – you know who you are and what you contributed.


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