Welcome to the 8th Annual Forever Young Raceday, held in memory of Troy and Olivia Gard - inspired by Gardies mates. For the person who can tell me after my moment here the number of times I say Gardies Mates I will buy you a drink at the bar! I wonder if straight up I can ask - if this is your first Raceday can you please raise your hand? I would like to welcome you today and thank you for your support. As expected the number of first time Gardies Mates Raceday attendees is minimal because most of the people in this room what can be referred to as 'repeat offenders' - people who already know of the amazing work these group of guys do in our community. So today I will not tell you what Gardies Mates do, but perhaps share with you an update of the families that have benefited in a variety of ways from the generosity of each and every one of you, the 'repeat fundraising offenders' who make the Gardies Mates ventures possible. In total your financial support over the 8 years on average has raised around $25 thousand dollars a year. Due to the connections in the community Gardies Mates often get "Mates Rates", needless to say your funds go further. It is thought that to date Gardies Mates have provided over 200 thousand dollars of value in support to families. 2009 and 2010 was purely focused on Marnie and the beautiful Gard family who had tragically lost both Troy and Olivia in a short period of time apart. I have no doubt that if we were to look to the heavens tonight that they remain the brightest shining stars in the sky, looking down on their family and friends who miss them dearly. In 2011 Marnie decided it was time to help others in similar circumstances, an incredibly generous decision and a lady with a vision of how things could be made a little easier if families did not have to financially struggle during these tough times. Our son Dylan Scott was the first child to be chosen to be supported by the Gardies Mates having been diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histocytosis (LCH) at the age of 4. Dylan then developed a secondary condition called Cholesteatoma in 2014, requiring more surgery. Dylan is now 9 years of age, about to commence Year 4 at St Joseph,s Catholic Primary school. Dylan's love in life secondary to his four year old sister Jasmine is sport, of any kind really but mostly Basketball and Football. We were delighted this year to see both Dylan and Henley (Brad O'Reilly's son) play for Marist Junior Football club on the same team. Unfortunately Dylan did have a recurrence of his Cholesteatoma this year and required further surgery, he also continues on six monthly MRI's at PMH for his LCH. Dylan dreams of being an AFL footy player with the Eagles when he grows up! In 2012 we met Darcie Halkyard who was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma which affected her optic nerve making her legally blind. Darcie was 6 when Gardies Mates helped renovate her home to be safe and enjoyable for her. Darcie is now a delightful 10 year old, going into her final year of Primary school. Darcie enjoys her school days with friends at Cooinda Primary School but struggles socially at times, something she and her family are working through. Her 2015 MRI did offer her doctors some level of concern however the most recent scans show her tumour to be stable. Darcie enjoys swimming, piano lessons and listening to music. She was most excited to have been gifted with ITunes vouchers over Christmas as this means she can download more Justin Bieber! Charlie her younger brother, now aged 5 is her best friend and dearest companion. Kayla Robinson had a Ewing's Sarcoma in her left leg and was 10 when Gardies Mates assisted parents Tracey and Jamie in 2013 with home renovations and purchased Kayla her wish for a four wheel motorbike. Kayla is turning 14 in a few weeks and going into Year 9 at Australind High School. She is not yet in remission and therefore has three monthly MRI scans that thus far are clear of any signs of recurrence. She is a thriving teenager who enjoys having friends over to ride her motorbike for hours on end. Her leg doesn't slow her down; she is able to jump and bounces like most other kids. Sadly Kayla has lost many of her friends from PMH and at times suffers from some guilt around being a survivor. Her Dad Jamie says she wears her scar like a badge of honour. Jamie also mentioned Kayla's love for makeup; she puts it on, takes it off and puts it on again - something like most dads he is not yet sure about! Next will be the boys... In 2014 Gardies Mates assisted Coby and Glynn Davies to complete renovations on their home while they supported their son Seth through chemotherapy treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia and welcomed their newborn son Ollie. Today Seth still has about 8 months of maintenance treatment remaining, supports the Dockers and plays local football for Bunbury Bulldogs. Seth is about to commence Year 6 at Carey Park Primary School and enjoys playing guitar. His greatest love is being with his family in the camper trailer he received from Make a Wish Foundation this year. Last year Gardies mates stretched out their hands and hearts to assist Tracey Wansborough to care for her son Brock who has a poor prognosis and wasnít expected to survive. Brock despite the many challenges in 2016 is still with his family although he has significantly regressed over the last year. His condition is considered to be fragile primarily due to the number of seizure he experiences in a day. Brock sadly has no brain function and is therefore completely reliant on the ongoing care of his amazing mum Tracey, ten year old sister Chloe and eight year old brother Tyson. Sister Chloe is well equipped to assist with Brock, giving medications via his tube, and even administering his feeds via a pump. Tyson is Brocks mate and spends countless hours lying by his side offering him sibling love and companionship. Tracey's days she describes as a little Ground hog with Brock, usually involving not only his day to day care but also attendance at therapy, hand splinting, equipment clinics, hospital appointments, physiotherapy and currently a trial of medications to manage his seizures. When I spoke with Tracey she said, people just donít understand the stress it takes off you when the whole of Gardies Mates team get involved. They are onto it straight away. Today, on the 8th Annual Raceday we are here to support Otis McHaffie who at the age of 3 1/2 was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Otis is now six months into his treatment at PMH and resides in a unit in Perth with the assistance of the Leukaemia Foundation. Younger brother Max is 10 months old and mum Brea has her hands full juggling the pressures of managing a child undergoing chemotherapy and the raising of an infant away from home. Otis has completed six months of weekly treatment and is now on a 10 day regime. The immediate plan is to advance to once a month treatment by February, this bringing a possible return to home in Australind and travelling to PMH for ongoing chemotherapy. Brea and Sam are here with their family today and I know as always each of you will all show your support by contributing to the raffles and auctions throughout the day. Otis loves the Octonauts, Paw Patrol and kicking the ball in the park on the weekends with his dad Sam. His best mate is his brother Max, who is no longer the baby lying on the floor but the brother who is starting to be fun as he is learning to crawl. Brea and Sam please embrace the support today it is with you always, particularly when times are tough. Remember a Hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. We sincerely hope that today we can help you and your little hero Otis, making the times ahead a little easier. You may have noticed that there are balloons scattered through the room, they are being held by members of Gardies Mates or family representatives of a child I have just mentioned. Each one of these balloons is the child's favourite colour. - Olivia had three favourite colours Yellow, Blue & Purple and for Troy - Blue & White representing his beloved Kangaroos football team - Red for Dylan Scott - Black and White and Blue for Darcie Halkyard - Light Blue for Kayla Robinson - Yellow and Black (Bunbury Bulldogs) for Seth Davies - Blue for Brock Wansborough - everything precious he owns is blue - And Paw Patrol for Otis McHaffie We are going to make our way out and release these balloons as we remember the highs and the lows, the tough times and the joy, the memories and the moments shared, may they bring these children the strength to face their ongoing life battles and fly high. If there are family members present please join the circle during the release. I ask you to remain silent while keeping Troy and Olivia in your thoughts as we send the balloons towards the heavens, sending our love while we remember them.