Michael and Amanda Christensen and their team car, Cooper's Journey
Michael and Amanda Christensen and their team car, Cooper's Journey "Avengers." Photo: Stuart Fast/ Contributed

The real-life stories behind Dunga 2020

THE Dunga Derby is still on for 2020, and for drivers Michael and Amanda Christensen, it means they can continue to help the community.

"Seven years ago our son Cooper was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, friend Mick Irwin created this foundation (Rally for a Cause) to help us and another family who had a sick child," Mrs Christensen said.

"He lost his life in 2015, just three weeks before the first Dunga Derby."

Mr Christensen said they wanted to help as many other families as they could.

"We've been involved since day one … we want to help as many families who are going through similar situations, or any situation that is not normal, tragedies and things like that," he said.

And the theme this year is one close to their hearts.

"Cooper passed when he was six, our car number is zero six, so it's pretty special to us," he said.

For Dunga Derby newcomers Brianna and Campbell Jones from Bundaberg, the fundraiser was a way to give back to the community.

 

DUNGA 2020: First time Dunga Derby drivers Campbell and Brianna Jones from Bundaberg. Photo: Stuart Fast
DUNGA 2020: First time Dunga Derby drivers Campbell and Brianna Jones from Bundaberg. Photo: Stuart Fast

"We thought with everything happening at the moment, people are going to be more out of pocket than usual and we though this was a good cause to help people out in a practical way," Mr Jones said.

Mrs Jones said it was a chance to help sick kids and she was looking forward to the driving challenge.

"I think with everything that's happened, Dunga have done a good job organising it, and running in this capacity at the moment," she said.

For William Schmidt from the Dungatoons team, the event was a way to support families and children on the Fraser Coast in unfortunately situations.

 

DUNGA 2020: Dungatoons team, William Schimdt with Nyree and Michelle Hatchman. Photo: Stuart Fast
DUNGA 2020: Dungatoons team, William Schimdt with Nyree and Michelle Hatchman. Photo: Stuart Fast

It is Mr Schmidt's second year participating in the fundraiser and he will be join by wife Nyree Hatchman and daughter Michelle Hatchman.

"I highly recommend anybody to do it, it's unbelievable… I'll be with it for a few years, that's for sure," Mr Schmidt said.

Dunga Derby event director Dave Darmody was grateful the event was still able to run despite the COVID crisis.

"Traditionally we run this event in the first week of August… eventually we set up a second date in October," he said.

This year the event will take place from October 15 to 18.

Mr Darmody said even when the October date was still uncertain, teams were fundraising.

"It is a massive show of confident in our board, our committee but also our participants and sponsors… our name has been still all over the Fraser Coast this year, that's the biggest takeaway."

Mr Darmody said despite the pandemic, numbers were up this year by 30 to 40 drivers.

"We've got eight or nine teams from the Sunshine Coast joining us," he said.

"I believe we are a great indicator of the spirit of the Fraser Coast… the number one takeaway is optimism, there are people who want to make great things happen."



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