Picture this, 1500 women in one single room, all dressed up in their finest outfits, feeling like absolute princesses. Famous hits from all era’s being sung by Jimmy Barnes and Velvet Corporation, gourmet food being served and you have the feeling that everything you give in this one night is going to help mothers that have a child living with cancer will help. This scene is a real life event; a gala dinner called Diamonds.
Diamonds is an annual Gala Dinner where all proceeds go towards helping mothers who have a child living with the traumatic illness of cancer. Funds are raised through ticket sales, silent auctions on the night, a live auction and raffle tickets both for individuals and tables. Diamonds relies heavily on sponsorship's and donations from the community in order to run the event and save as many funds as possible for their overall goal – helping mothers who are trying to help their child fight cancer.
The entire night was based on a ‘Viva Las Vegas’ theme, with flamingos and diamonds being a prominent feature of the evening. Tables were set beautiful with either an oversized cocktail glass filled with diamonds or a bright pink flamingo as a centre piece. Sitting on each chair was a large flamingo patterned Bed, Bath and Table goodie bag, filled to the brim with various items from sponsors of the event.
A highlight of the evening was the short but sweet 20-minute performance by special guest Jimmy
Barnes. Playing hit singles such as ‘Working Class Man’ as well as Cold Chisel’s song ‘Flame trees’, Barnes had the audience swooning over him. His band of four plus himself played an incredible acoustic-type set, which had the audience begging him for an encore. Barnes played a couple of songs from his new album Soul Searching, which was also an item in the goody bag. In past years, the special guest performer usually only does a 20-minute set and then the event proceedings continue. However, with chanting women begging for more, Barnes and his band granted their audience there wishes and came back to finish off with one final number.
For the past couple of years I have been attending this wonderful event and enjoying every moment that is set up by a small committee team. The chairwoman of the Woman for Challenge committee, Anna Toman, has always addressed the event with a powerful speech that never fails to emotionally connect with everyone in the room. This year her hard work and constant desire to put others first was recognised and rewarded, through her receiving the 2016 Diamond of the Year award. This annual award was ‘introduced to recognise and celebrate the amazing work achieved by women associated with Challenge’ (as described in the Diamonds gala dinner booklet).
This annual gala dinner was absolutely incredible, and I would recommend it for any woman wanting to help support the Challenge organisation as well as have a fantastic night with some friends. I’m sure everyone in that room enjoyed the night and came home with numb feet from dancing so hard on the dance floor.
Who is Challenge and what do they do?
Challenge is a not-for-profit organisation that was originally founded in 1983. It all started with a University project that aimed to help the siblings of those who are fighting cancer. Challenge realises the emotional struggle and the pressure on personal well-being that family’s go through when living with cancer and as a result they try to help in any way possible.
Challenge works to offer non-medical support through services such as massage therapy, playgroups, music and art therapy, a resource library and information seminars. Challenge does not take a day off, ever. They work every single day of the year both in hospitals and within communities.
How can I help?
Challenge relies heavily on the wider community in order for their organisation to work effectively. Therefore, if you want to play your part to help these beautiful families and kids in need you can: