Clarabelle the cow on 4,000km journey to raise money for cancer support in WA

September 4, 2022
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A painted fibreglass cow, which is on a 4,000-kilometre road trip around Western Australia, is on track to raise $100,000 for a cancer support service.

The major fundraising drive by MGM Bulk began at last year’s Brunswick Show when grandfather-grandson duo Mario and James Giacci placed the winning bid on Clarabelle the cow.

James Giacci, marketing manager of the family-owned business, said that moment was the genesis of the Cow for Cancer project.

“We had one of our pink 60-metre ultra-quad road trains on display there. We were working closely with Solaris [Cancer Care centres] on the day to try to raise some money for them,” he said.

“They were auctioning off this life-size fibreglass cow and we were the highest bidder on the day. That essentially meant that we got to keep that cow for the next 12 months and we could do anything with it,” he said.

They decided to take Clarabelle through the areas of the state where MGM Bulk operated.

“It [the idea] was to take this cow on a 4000-kilometre road trip around Western Australia working with Solaris Cancer Care along the way, trying to raise some money and obviously highlight the support that they offer people who are going through cancer treatment,” Mr Giacci said.

Solaris CEO Francis Lynch said those support services for patients, carers, and families relied heavily on community funding.

“Well over 95 per cent of the funds that Solaris has is generated from community fundraising events and from donors and corporate sponsors,” Mr Lynch said.

While Solaris had been around for more than two decades, Mr Lynch said it was still “a bit of a hidden gem”.

“A lot of people don’t know we’re here,” he said.

“I hope the Cow for Cancer and the partnership with MGM Bulk is going to raise awareness of how important it is for somebody to live a good life during the time they’re being treated.

“There are things that help people have a better experience during their time with cancer. That’s what Solaris is about.”

Solaris Cancer Care has five centres in Perth, Albany and Bunbury and a cancer support nurse who works in partnership with the Hedland Well Women’s Centre in Port Hedland.

The cancer support nurse travels to Port Hedland and Karratha, and also supports people from the region while they are in Perth.

“A lot of people who are in the Pilbara when they’re having their cancer treatment make the lonely journey down to Perth,” Mr Lynch said.

“One of the things that we’re really trying to do is to make sure that the experience they have when they’re in Perth is as good as it can be, that they get connected to the right services here in Perth, that they get the right support.

“We want people in their families to get that support and we’re really thankful to MGM Bulk and all the other supporters of this project.

“I’d encourage people if they see Clarabelle and they’d like to make a donation, just to know that it is going to go to the service delivery in both the Pilbara and the South West.”

Before setting off from the South West, Mr Giacci said Clarabelle was given a fitting face lift by artists in Bunbury.

“We got local artists Andrew Fraser and Charlotte White to paint this gorgeous life-size mural on the cow that represents the landscape she will be travelling through while also still highlighting the pink that resonates so much to people who are going through cancer,” Mr Giacci said.

The grandfather-grandson duo set off from Bunbury with Clarabelle in tow on Monday.

“We took the van through The Pinnacles to the four-kilometre drive there, pulled Clarabelle out and there were a lot of people there that were sort of pulling up and getting photos together quite shocked to see this life-size fibreglass cow in the middle of The Pinnacles,” Mr  Giacci said.

The first major stop was Karratha where the Cow for Cancer team was stationed from Tuesday, and on Thursday they will head off to Port Hedland.

“Clarabelle will spend some time there for the next week, working closely with Solaris Cancer Care. Once she leaves there, we’ll be heading down to Southern Cross then she’s doing about three weeks’ work in Perth,” Mr Giacci said.

Finally, Clarabelle will return to Bunbury for a few final events before being handed back at the next Brunswick Show in October.

“It’s been really good seeing local businesses come on board to support this project, and even the wider community come on board and support it,” Mr Giacci said.

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