Property Industry Embraces Corporate Social Responsibility to Wipeout Dementia

Property Industry Embraces Corporate Social Responsibility to Wipeout Dementia
Property Industry Embraces Corporate Social Responsibility to Wipeout Dementia


It is estimated that by 2050 the world’s older population will have doubled to 2 billion and, by just 2020, individuals aged above 60 years will have outnumbered children younger than five. Clearly, we have many fundamental and complex challenges that are yet to be addressed – including adequate facilities, properly trained providers, increasing healthcare costs – with a priority challenge the undeniable social and economic burden of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

At a time in Australia’s history when we are closing the gap on the United Kingdom where dementia is the leading cause of death, Sydney’s property industry has taken an extraordinary lead on corporate social responsibility to enact positive change in healthy ageing.

On 22 November the tenth Wipeout Dementia surf contest will run at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach, with 45 senior executives across the property industry riding the wave of social change to raise funds for critical dementia research at UNSW Sydney’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA).

Particular industry support for the 2019 property industry Wipeout Dementia comes from Morgans Financial, Aoyuan International, Colliers International Residential, m3property and Winten Property Group.

Following extensive personal and professional support from Colliers International Residential Managing Director Peter Chittenden in the early stages of Wipeout Dementia, it was Peter Clemesha of Avenor who led the charge in creating a property industry Wipeout Dementia event in November 2016.

This Friday five teams will surf off led by fellow captains Philip Vivian of Bates Smart, Craig Rodgers of Charter Hall, Steve Watson of Steve Watson & Partners and Darren Beasley of Aoyuan International.

The event aims to raise $200,000 for The Dementia Momentum; a CHeBA initiative which brings the research and corporate community together to advance the large-scale, big data research into prevention of dementia and increase community awareness around modifiable risk factors.

Over ten events Wipeout Dementia has generated more than $1.3 million for The Dementia Momentum with industry representatives in the 2019 event joining from CBRE, Colliers International, Shape Australia, Buildcorp, FDC, Lendlease, Ray White Commercial, Stamford Capital, Sense Projects, Haigs Builder Brokers and many more.

For the first time multiple surfers from Parkview, Capital Bluestone and Buildcorp will surf in Wipeout Dementia and the first interstate surfers will join m3property’s Sydney Director Joel Ducey from their Melbourne and Brisbane offices.

Funds raised through the property industry Wipeout Dementia events have supported research and infrastructure costs for our international consortia harnessing “big data” to identify risk and protective factors for dementia. Wipeout Dementia fundraising has been the launch pad for a significant number of priority research projects across CHeBA’s international consortia spanning more than 30 countries, with the following projects receiving a funding boost as a result of the November event:

  • The relationship between education, certain genes and cognitive impairment;
  • Interactive effects of diabetes and genetics on cognitive decline in elderly adults;
  • Social health and reserve in dementia;
  • Nutrition and cognitive health in the older population;
  • The relationship between blood pressure and risk of cognitive decline;
  • Development and validation of risk models for the prediction of dementia in low and middle-income countries;
  • Global prevalence and common risk factors for post-stroke cognitive impairment;
  • The role drugs such as statins (for lowering cholesterol) and metformin (for diabetes) might play in reducing the risk of dementia;
  • Development of a platform for sharing of data with researchers from anywhere in the world;
  • Development of novel dietary supplements to protect against dementia.

Funds raised from this Wipeout Dementia will also provide funding to expand the research comparing various centenarian studies of brain ageing with each other. The hope is to find factors, including diet, that predict successful brain ageing into the 11th decade of life that are robust across cohorts which will spearhead an international effort to promote successful brain ageing and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Spokesman for The Dementia Momentum and Wipeout Dementia Ambassador, Richard Grellman AM and Spokesman for The Dementia Momentum (Chairman of IPH Limited and FBR Limited), says it has been tremendous to witness the property industry embrace this concept and strive for social change.

This fundraising event is in honour of Richard’s wife Suellen, who turns 69 on the day of the Wipeout Dementia event. Suellen has very advanced young onset Alzheimer’s disease and requires full-time high-level care and attention.

"For me, Wipeout Dementia has been a blessing because when your life partner embarks upon the journey that Suellen has been on, you quickly realise that you have no meaningful purpose to play in her care because that’s been attended to by professionals who know what they are doing.”

“Wipeout Dementia has given me the opportunity to actually do something," said Mr Grellman, who was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate from UNSW.

“When I first became involved with CHeBA in 2015, I was disclosing that there were 342,000 Australians with dementia. In just a couple of years I’m now advising that the statistic has increased by close to 100,000 to over 430,000 people with dementia,” said Mr Grellman.

“Back then, dementia was not the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians – it now is.”

Fellow Ambassador and 1978 World Surfing Champion Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew has surfed every event and is encouraged by the property industry’s involvement and energy to support dementia research and Mr Grellman’s role with CHeBA.

“I’ve been in the property industry for over 30 years and what I’ve realised is the privileged environment in which we work,” said Managing Director of Colliers International Residential, Peter Chittenden.

“We have the opportunity to give back and use our influence to raise some funds for much needed research,” said Mr Chittenden.

Morgans is the major sponsor of Wipeout Dementia with Executive Director Mark Gross surfing in the majority of events.

“In 2015 the global cost of caring for those with dementia was approximately $820 billion. Beyond the devastating social impact it is imperative organisations consider the economic impact and view corporate social responsibility as an investment in the future,” said Mr Gross.

“Morgans is proud to be the major sponsor of such a worthwhile endeavour,” said Mr Gross.

A number of other surfers in the property industry event have similar family journeys to Richard Grellman’s to share and motivations behind their involvement in the cause, including Captain Peter Clemesha.

“My Uncle’s passing from dementia was the driving force for me to get behind Wipeout Dementia and promote corporate social responsibility across the property industry,” said Mr Clemesha, whose daughter Ali Clemesha of NewsCorp is also a participant.

“My daughter and I are proud to support CHeBA through Wipeout Dementia and honour a relative this way,” he said.

Fellow Captain and two-time highest fundraiser Steve Watson, Managing Director of Steve Watson & Partners, lost his father on 1st February 2019. According to Steve his father passed away after a six-year struggle with dementia which has given him a sense of purpose in his involvement with Wipeout Dementia.

“His slow decline was extremely difficult for all of us as he became less and less responsive to his environment, especially to his close family,” said Steve.

Captain Craig Rodgers, who has been involved since the first property industry event, named his team Cliff’s Carvers in honour of his Grandfather who passed away from Alzheimer’s disease after being diagnosed in his 60s.

Director of AWM Commercial Furniture and third time surfer in Wipeout Dementia, Anthony Scotts, has witnessed first-hand the devastating impact that dementia has on the individual and extended family - with both his father being diagnosed some 20 years ago and passing away in 2018 and, more recently, another family member being diagnosed aged just 62. One of 8 children, Anthony and his siblings are hopeful for better support of people with young onset Alzheimer's disease.

“I have watched the overwhelming and distressing effect dementia has on families,” said Mr Scotts.

“I’m extremely proud to be part of an industry that is getting behind research for dementia; a disease that is heartbreaking for families and brings an enormous challenge to health and social policy,” said Anthony.

Second-time participant, Rodney Jamieson, of FDC Construction & Fitout bore witness to his loving Nan experiencing ‘sundowners’ dementia in the late stages of her life.

“Two years after my Grandfather had passed and after 67 years of marriage my Nan suffered traumatic ‘sundowning’,” he said. “It was distressing for all of us to watch Nan decline with dementia and for such a devastating end to her life.”

Fellow second-time participant, Craig Shelsher, Director at Custance Associates shares a similar story of his father’s brother, whose cognitive decline has advanced rapidly following his diagnosis four years ago aged just 71.

“My father and his brother forged a very successful construction business together,” he said.

“My Uncle is now very much at a point where he does not recognise family members,” says Mr Shelsher.

First time Captain and Deputy General Manager of sponsor Aoyuan International, Darren Beasley, is surfing in memory of his father-in-law.

“Nothing prepares you for the loss of loved one through Alzheimer’s disease,” said Mr Beasley.

“With dementia costing Australia more than $15 billion annually it’s terrific to see the industry I’m a part of get so invested in the Wipeout Dementia cause,” he said.

Builder broker and owner of company Haigs, George Sharpe, is surfing Wipeout Dementia for the third time in memory of his grandmother and a family friend who both suffered dementia.

“Having someone you’ve known your whole life forget your name and watching the effect it has across the entire family is hard to endure,” said Mr Sharpe.

First time surfer Stuart Voigt, representing Parkview, lost his grandfather Laurie to Alzheimer’s disease in 1997.

“My grandfather was an engineer and an official timekeeper in the Olympics,” said Mr Voigt.

“Watching his decline was exceptionally difficult and gives me solid motivation to raise awareness about risk reduction for dementia as well as the need for more funding for research,” said Mr Voigt.

Personal stories such as these inspire CHeBA’s academics to continue to expand their research across the full spectrum of the disease beyond drug treatments, to include early diagnosis and prevention strategies in mid-life to reduce modifiable risk factors associated with dementia.

CHeBA’s Co-Directors Professor Perminder Sachdev AM and Professor Henry Brodaty AO say without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple by 2056.

“The number of new Australian cases of dementia are projected to increase from current rates of 250 people per day to over 650 people per day by the middle of the century,” say Professor Brodaty and Professor Sachdev.

“The key message of Wipeout Dementia is for all Australians to get active, and stay active throughout life, to reduce their risk of dementia,” said Mr Grellman.

To sponsor one of the Wipeout Dementia surfers go to:

Morgans is the major sponsor for Wipeout Dementia November 2019.
Secondary sponsors are m3property, Winten Property Group, Aoyuan International and Colliers International Residential. Hurley is apparel sponsor.

In-kind and event bag sponsors are Destination Towels, Australian Healthy Food Guide, Bounce Balls, Brain Snacks, Dripping Wet, Fine Fettle, Monster Health Foods, Prevention Australia, Samsonite, Slim Secrets, Sprout Daily, Surfyogis, The Bucket List, Think Products (Munch), Three Blue Ducks and Bistecca.



  • Peter Clemesha (CAPTAIN): Director, Avenor
  • Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew: 1978 World Surfing Champion & Wipeout Dementia Ambassador
  • Ali Clemesha: Key Account Manager, NSW, News Corp Australia
  • Joel Ducey: Director, m3property
  • Stuart Montfort: Valuation Analyst, m3property
  • Jeff Moxham: Managing Director & Partner, Ray White Commercial
  • David Scardoni: Director, Stamford Capital Australia Pty Ltd
  • Blake Schulze: Director, Colliers International
  • George Sharpe: Builder Broker, Haigs Builder Brokers


  • Craig Rodgers (CAPTAIN): Innovation Lead (Office), Charter Hall
  • Scott Anderson: Director, Colliers International
  • Brett Eichhorn: Director, Sense Projects
  • Vince Kernahan: National Director, Institutional & Investment Services (NSW), Colliers International
  • Brett Newman: CEO, Paramatta Council
  • Anthony Scotts: Director, AWM Commercial Furniture
  • Brendan Shipp: Director, CBRE
  • Phillip Wicks: General Manager, Shape Australia
  • Andrew Wilson: Managing Director, AJW Interiors & Construction


  • Philip Vivian (CAPTAIN): Director, Bates Smart Pty Ltd
  • Peter Kleijn: Design Manager, Winten Property Group
  • David Michel: General Manager, Landmark Group
  • Nikki Mote: Director, Nikki Mote Architect
  • Harrison Murdoch: Senior Analyst, Stamford Capital
  • Karl Riedel: Finance Lead for Asia Pacific Buildings & Infrastructure, Jacobs
  • Alex Rosenthal: Associate, Arup
  • Will Rothwell: Director, Winten Property Group
  • Martin Taylor: Director, Creatures of Habitat Studio


  • Steve Watson (CAPTAIN): Managing Director, Steve Watson & Partners
  • Pip de Rohan: Founder & CEO, Project One
  • Danny Kent: Director and Co-Founder, Ocian Property Capital
  • Cameron Hicks: Senior Valuer, m3property
  • Rodney Jamieson: Business Development Director, FDC Construction & Fitout
  • Badier Kubis: Director, Kaddi Project Management
  • JoeO'Dwyer, Senior Executive - Investment, MaxCap Group
  • Stefan Perkowski: Director, CBRE
  • Craig Shelsher: Director, Custance Associates


  • Darren Beasley (CAPTAIN): Deputy General Manager, Aoyuan International
  • Alex Beasley: Aoyuan International
  • Lucy Ford: Assistant Development Manager, Capital Bluestone
  • Michael Gordon: General Manager, Buildcorp
  • Alex Kelly: Marketing Coordinator, Capital Bluestone
  • David Kemp: Senior Site Manager, Buildcorp
  • Josh Millard: Senior Contracts Administrator, Parkview
  • Andrew Moss: Foreman, Parkview
  • Stuart Voigt: General Foreman, Parkview

Communications Contact

Communications contact: Heidi Douglass, Communications and Projects OffierHeidi Douglass
Team Lead – Innovations & Communications
T 0435 579 202