An amazing 17 K has been raised and donated to the Forster Private Hospital Oncology unit, through the Live Like Toby Foundation. We catch up with Darren McDonagh, the President of the Forster Tuncurry Boardriders (FBI) …
How long have FBI been operating, and can you tell us a bit about the association?
We have been operating for going on four years. We started FBI because as locals, surfers and parents of up and coming surfers, we wanted our kids to enjoy a safe and fun environment to do what they love.
Every second Sunday of the month, we host competitions on every level for all ages at a local beach in the Forster area. The goal of the club is to build community, mentor and teach. We want to provide a space of awareness of the ocean, the environment and have our members contribute to our local area. We bring in a local resource, Great Lakes Surf School, to provide lessons to our grommets (groms: young, up and coming surfers). We are involved in beach clean-ups and education for our members on the damage plastics cause to oceans and the environment.
We are really passionate about nurturing the talent in our area. Just this past weekend some of our senior members took several of the team to represent our town at Stockton Beach’s ORICA event.
Can you tell us about Toby Flew and the fundraiser days that you hold?
Toby was a great local guy with a strong presence in surfing. Unfortunately, due to cancer, Toby was taken too soon. He was treated in Newcastle, and his family and mates found it hard to travel to support him. The club decided to start raising money to help support Toby and his family.
From there, it just blossomed. We realised that the area of need was so great, and with the generosity of Toby’s community, we realised that other oncology patients could benefit. Initial donations were made to the hospital in Newcastle, where Toby was treated.
Then we started to source ways to keep the funds local. Live Like Toby was born three years ago, and we are really proud of what we’ve been able to do to give back.
The association has chosen the Cape Hawke Association/Forster Private Hospital to donate the funds to this year. Why is this, and what was it that the funds helped the hospital to buy?
We approached Cape Hawke Association, as they are heavily involved in the community and we respect what they bring to our area with all the efforts they have put in over many years. They told us about the Oncology needs of the hospital, and we just knew that it would all gel. We really wanted to provide a resource that would benefit locals, and we knew this would work well with the goals of Live Like Toby.
With the funds raised from our competitions over the year, we were able to donate enough money for the hospital to purchase four new Oncology chairs. This allows for the patients to stay locally for treatments and allows for more patients to be accommodated.
What involvement does the Cape Hawke Association have with FBI and the Live Like Toby Foundation?
It’s a new relationship, but one we think will continue to grow. As mentioned, we approached them because of their knowledge and experience in providing a service to the community. We would love FBI to continue to provide back to our locals.
Are there any future events you’ll be holding, and how can those wishing to donate or be involved participate?
FBI has surf comps every second Sunday of the month, and we can be found doing this at any local beach. Follow our social channels to find out where we are and come along (Facebook and Instagram). Being aware of what we have going on each month will allow anyone to came and join in. You don’t need to have a great surfing ability; anyone can participate or just spectate.
We’d love to welcome new members at any time – the more members and community involvement we have, the more we can do. Members can enjoy the family style events that take place – raffles, sausage sandwiches, surf lessons etc.
We have award nights, education events, such as teaching our groms how to read rips etc. We have fun raffles with great prizes, merchandise, auctions. It’s all about instilling good value into the kids and paving a future for them.