In November 2021, I was nominated to be a part of Stars of the Border Dance for Cancer, it would be a fun journey to give back to my Albury Wodonga community. I thought it would be a great charity event to be a part of and connect with different people. It was all that and so much more, from creating events to raise money, asking for money/donations, learning to dance, understanding dancing, understanding the process, and changing plans at any time with Covid restrictions.
I’ve been in many roles outside of work, from a class representative at school to President of a football club. However being a dancing star in the spotlight was a new challenge and at the information night, Drew Cameron said it would be an experience you would never forget, and boy did I underestimate that point. It was a long road to the night with many twists and turns, but when it comes and the nerves build, the stress of getting it right to the, did I do enough, can I give it my all and deliver.
On the night, the emotions go from stressed out too, wow this is exciting, to OMFG this is awesome to complete overwhelming gratitude. From the moment the classic cars picked us up and Renee “The Real Florist” Williams’s dress was just on point for the red carpet entry. While my dance score was not enough to take out a win, I was happy to take a place next to the amazing stars in the line-up. They were at a whole other level and delivered some of the most heartfelt dances and stories you could ever see. Right up until the very end and the amazing total funds raised topped $300k.
Whilst I didn’t raise the most money, I had a good crack and while not everything pans out as I may have hoped, I still managed to raise $4,512. Thank you to so many including my wife for her support to make it all happen. To Rob Sharpe from Fight Gym Albury, Business Edge Advisors and Escape Room Albury teams for helping with events to assist in fundraising. I’m so grateful to all the family, friends, and clients that donated to help raise this much to support such a great cause.
The most impressive feats of the night come from the group as a whole and the winners. We raised an amazing $300,251. Ruchi did the most amazing job to raise an amazing $58,743. Mali’s dance was so good it was perfect, with a dance score of all 10s, it really was an amazing dance and feat on its own. Like the amazing work and clear people’s choice winner Natalie Nelson whose dance, her story is so touching and heartfelt.
There are also a lot of other heroes in this story from the start to the end, which happens long before any events or stars are even picked. The committee works hard in the off-season getting all the dances organised and picking stars and I’m sure there is a lot more going on than you can even realise. But I was lucky enough that Holly Kupa said yes and that I could be a part of this amazing event. She did an amazing job of bringing the song and dance together that suited my style. It takes a lot of commitment and hard work for the dance teachers to get up and volunteer their time, nights, weekends, and support behind the chosen star.
A big shout out to all the sponsors that come together in different ways and shapes, from money, time, materials, equipment, and expertise to make this event the extravaganza that it is, I was lucky enough to get my outfit and dance shirt sorted by Beck from Brie Corporate, my hair done by Em from Abbey Hill Collective, and Hume Dance School which gave us the time and space to practice many times a week over several weeks.
After all said and done, this experience has been amazingly life changing. It’s hard to describe from the highs of the night to the forever heart-filled gratitude to be a part of a great event which raised the highest amount of money in NSW for the Cancer Council Dance for Cancer events. To be a part of this amazing group of people who all come together to make it more than I could ever imagine.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being a part of this journey and if you’re lucky enough to get this opportunity, take it on and take it to another level.
Clayton Wood (former Start of the Border)
Image: Sandy Rosseland Photography
The Group Dance
The Whole Event (3hours)