Twenty of Sydney’s corporate surfers, led by Ambassador Richard Grellman AM, combined forces to raise awareness around the modifiable lifestyle factors for improving brain health, as part of the third Wipeout Dementia campaign.
The gruelling four-week strength for surfing training course culminated in a Surf Off on Saturday, where participants demonstrated their newly honed skills while raising funds for The Dementia Momentum, an initiative of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA).
The latest campaign – with major sponsors Morgans and Kennards Hire - continued the initiative’s track record of success said Spokesman for The Dementia Momentum Mr Grellman, Chairman of Genworth Mortgage Insurance, IPH Limited and AMP Foundation and former Chairman of The Association of Surfing Professionals (International) Limited.
“We are delighted and encouraged by the growing awareness and support Wipeout Dementia is generating within the Australian corporate community,” he said. “Long-term partnership between research and business is critical for us to face the social and economic challenges dementia incidence poses.”
In a major upset, Gillespie’s Grommets Forever took the May 2016 winning team title, previously held by Grellman’s Evergreens in both the May and November 2015 rounds.
“Having been involved in Wipeout Dementia from the outset it was a special thrill to lead our team to victory,” said team captain Rob Gillespie. “It is terrific seeing the participants so heartily invested in such a worthy cause and, most importantly, enthusiastic to continue their involvement with the campaign.”
Wipeout Dementia Ambassador and 1978 World Surfing Champion Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew AM congratulated participants for their enthusiasm and involvement.
“The appeal of the Wipeout Dementia campaign is that all funds raised go directly to researching the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dementia,” said Rabbit. “At the same time, we get to have a lot of fun doing something we love.”
A number of awards were announced on the day including the ‘Player’s Player’ award which went to Andy Kennard of major sponsor Kennards Hire.
The prestigious ‘Gnarly Award’, a Mark Richards 1982 replica twin fin surfboard was awarded to John Cunningham, team captain of Cunningham’s Cruisers. In an incredible display of dedication the Managing Director of Cunninghams personally raised over $16,000 while bringing the company on board as supporter sponsor in the 2016 event.
Special thanks also go to Ben Grellman and Stephen Lennard who were the other top fundraisers of this round of Wipeout Dementia.
Watson Mangioni Lawyers (WML) demonstrated their ongoing commitment as supporter sponsors of the May 2016 event. Director of WML and third time participant, Chris Clarke, was awarded the most valuable player for Grellman’s Evergreens, as voted by team captain Richard Grellman.
From Gillespie’s Grommet’s Forever this award went to Peter Murphy, Chief Executive of Ski Japan, who joined the campaign for the first time this year having had both parents diagnosed with dementia.
“This is something that just feels right to do,” he said.
It was a jaw-dropping wave with a score of 9.6 that won Austin Ware ‘Wave of the Day’, while Shawn Hobbs from Genworth took home the almighty ‘Wipeout Award’. Final awards were to Stephen Westfield who received the ‘Coach’s Award’ for his efforts and to Ian Freestone who was appointed most valuable player for Cunningham’s Cruisers.
CHeBA Co-Directors, Professor Perminder Sachdev and Professor Henry Brodaty attended the Surf Off. They expressed their appreciation to all participants, Ambassadors Richard Grellman and Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew, as well as event creator and coordinator Heidi Mitchell and Coach Craig Douglass.
“Participants in Wipeout Dementia are great exemplars of the modifiable lifestyle factors we know help prevent or reduce dementia incidence,” said Professor Brodaty. “They are physically active, have great social connections and are engaging in complex mental activity by learning new skills throughout the course.”
Research shows physically inactive individuals have an 80% increased risk of dementia. By contrast, physical exercise has positive and protective effects on brain function, not only reducing risk factors but increasing neuroplasticity.
Richard Grellman confirmed that the team exceeded their goal by raising over $82,000 to advance the large-scale, “big data” research being conducted at CHeBA.
This fundraising event is held in honour of Richard’s wife Suellen, who has advanced young onset Alzheimer’s disease and has been in High Care since December 2015.
Morgans and Kennards Hire are the major sponsors for Wipeout Dementia May 2016. Wipeout Dementi’s supporter sponsors are Cunninghams, Watson Mangioni Lawyers, Sandler Shoes and Sparke Helmore Lawyers. Hurley, Dripping Wet and Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club provided in-kind support.
To view photos from the event CLICK HERE.
To sponsor one of the Wipeout Dementia participants CLICK HERE.
For more information about Wipeout Dementia CLICK HERE.
Heidi Mitchell | Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing | +61 2 9382 3398 | 0435 579 202