It takes a special type of person to do what James Freeman has been able to as the founder of Australia’s largest private fundraiser for the Cancer Council. And he’s done it in the most laugh-out-loud way imaginable with the creation of the Shitbox Rally, an annual motoring event which raises much-needed funds for cancer research.
The Shitbox Rally is just as absurd as it sounds. Average Aussies sign up to drive thousands of kilometres across the outback in old rust bucket cars (a.k.a. “shitboxes”) worth no more than $1,000. Over 200 teams dress up in the most ridiculous costumes they can find (think monsters, drag queens and Teletubbies) and hurtle across some of the country’s most challenging terrain, in often less than ideal conditions, all for a good cause. The money comes from rally partners and the teams themselves, who must raise over $4,000 to earn their place.
What began as a way to honour his parents, who both tragically lost their lives to cancer within 12 months of one another, has turned into James’ full-time passion.
"I needed to find something that was going to excite me. And it was going to need to be something big, because it was going to take a lot to bring excitement and life and fun back,” he said. “Many of us have been affected by cancer in one way or another. We not only want to raise awareness and money for the Cancer Council, but we want to be able to offer support and a friendly ear to those that have suffered or are suffering.”
Now in its sixth year, the Shitbox Rally is a great way for those touched by or battling cancer to come together for a one-of-a-kind adventure. People just like Heather Ferrier, who last year completed the Shitbox Rally from Perth to Darwin with her sister Tracey.
At 39, Heather was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and became the first Queensland woman to begin a life-extending gene-based therapy to help buy her more time. To show their gratitude for the research the Cancer Council does in working towards a cure, the sisters participated in Shitbox Rally not only to experience the trip of a lifetime, but to also give something back.
Shitbox Rally 2015 will take place from May 9th – 15th and travel from Canberra to Townsville via the Birdsville Track. Here at Bonds, we are proud to sponsor Heather and Tracey, who have signed up once again to take on the Shitbox Rally challenge. You go girls!
To follow this year’s Rally or to donate to this worthy cause, check out www.shitboxrally.com.au