Trucking for breast cancer

When Eamonn and Julie Gavin decided to purchase a new truck and lowloader for their heavy haulage fleet operating out of Perth, they struck on an idea to help one of Australia’s most worthy charities, the McGrath Foundation, known for its caring work with breast cancer patients.

Julie Gavin has long been a supporter of the work carried out by the McGrath Foundation, and a decision was made to paint the Western Star, and low loader and dolly manufactured by Drake Trailers in Brisbane, in the highly recognisable colour associated with the charity.

The result is a stunning unit that is on its way to Perth and raising money along the way. All in the road transport industry are encouraged to lend support as the couple and their pink combination head west. The goal is to raise more than $500,000 before journey’s end.

The Western Star was painted pink to match the Drake trailer and suppliers were asked to donate components and equipment to help in the fund raising effort. But it didn’t stop there, Western Star supplied a 4864 FXC prime mover to be loaded onto the trailer with orders for Eamonn and Julie to auction it along the way.

The launch of the journey at Drake Trailers saw the auction of a retired Drake nameplate bring in $7000, while industry identities donated a further $100,000. To top it off, a cheque for a further $40,000 was presented by the Bank of Queensland to get the Brisbane to Perth for Breast Cancer Care journey underway.

Western Star also commissioned artist Donna Gibb to complete three paintings depicting the journey, all to be reproduced in a limited number of prints and auctioned to raise funds as the truck makes its way west. The original paintings will also raise money at the end of the journey.

One print was ready for auction at a Western Star awards dinner during the International Truck Trailer and Equipment Show in Melbourne and bidding reached $8000 from the dealer group at the function. The print was donated back to the cause and at a dealer event the following evening, a further $10,000 was raised.

Eamonn and Julie exhibited the truck at the show and worked tirelessly during the three day exhibition to not only raise donations but also promote the work conducted by the McGrath Foundation in all Australian states.

“I don’t know why I started this,” said an enthusiastic Julie, tongue in cheek, as she asked for donations from show visitors. “It is an extremely worthwhile cause and I think everybody has been touched by breast cancer at some time or knows someone who has, so if we can raise as much money as possible while promoting awareness hopefully our efforts will help in many ways.”

The Gavins took time out from their growing business that services the mining industry with a fleet of 30 trucks, in order to concentrate on the fundraising drive. 

The journey concluded in Perth with a black tie dinner on March 26 where bids for the truck and other items all went to the McGrath Foundation and its ongoing work. At the time of writing, the final donation figure and successful bid for the prime mover were unknown, but we’ll keep you posted.

This extraordinary event was backed by a website dedicated to activities and included not only a home page, but news, how to make a bid for the Western Star prime mover, a sponsor’s page and how to make a donation. By all accounts it has attracted a large audience keen to keep tabs on the charity run.

The efforts of the Gavin family, Drake Trailers and Western Star Trucks will be remembered long after the completion of the journey and the pink truck and lowloader will remind people of the importance of breast cancer awareness and the need for ongoing research.

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