In the week of Bill Gates announcing he has decided to join the fight against dementia, senior executives from Sydney's property industry have led the most successful Wipeout Dementia event to date, raising $120,000 for dementia research at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), UNSW.
24 heavy hitters from across the property industry - including executives from Ray White Commercial, Colliers International, Avenor, Abacus Property, Aoyuan Property Group, Bates Smart, Charter Hall and State Property – competed in a Surf Off on Friday, 17 November at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach.
Reigning champions Cliff's Carvers, captained by Craig Rodgers of Charter Hall and consisting of Scott Anderson, Brett Eichhorn, Stephen Newey, Anthony Scotts, Steve Watson, Phillip Wicks, Sam Wicks and Andrew Wilson, have taken home the November 2017 title leaving Clemo's Diehard Surfers and Phil's Goats eagerly anticipating next year's charity contest.
Dementia is now the leading cause of death in England and the second leading cause of death in Australia, with more than 244 new cases diagnosed each day. The current economic cost of dementia internationally is estimated to be $818 billion annually and, in Australia alone, the estimated cost in 2017 is $14 billion. By 2056 this figure is projected to increase to $28 billion.
This week marked the announcement that Bill Gates had decided to join the fight against dementia by donating $50 million of his personal wealth to the Dementia Discovery Fund and another $50 million to fund other innovative ideas.
CHeBA Co-Director Professor Perminder Sachdev AM said the announcement is another shot in the arm for dementia research, coming only a few years after David Cameron, the then Prime Minister of UK, put dementia research on the global agenda. What Cameron did for public funding for dementia research could be replicated in the private sector and philanthropy after Gates’s bold initiative.
“Internationally, there is a need for 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,” he said.
Today’s Wipeout Dementia event is the sixth run by CHeBA and aims to increase awareness about the modifiable risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias while driving research funds to harness global research to prevent dementia.
Wipeout Dementia Ambassador and 1978 World Surfing Champion Wayne 'Rabbit' Bartholomew AM congratulated all participants for their enthusiasm and involvement.
"The appeal of Wipeout Dementia is that the entirety of funds raised go directly to research at CHeBA," said Rabbit. "At the same time, we're increasing general knowledge in the community about this disease and we all get to have fun doing something we love."
The property industry event was generated by Peter Clemesha of Avenor whose team - Clemo's Diehard Surfers - this year consisted of Ambassadors Wayne 'Rabbit' Bartholomew and Richard Grellman, Matthew Faddy, Nic George, John L'Estrange, Nicholas Roche, David Scardoni and George Sharpe. The third team in the contest, Phil's Goats - captained by Philip Vivian of Bates Smart, consisted of Darren Beasley, Mark Gross, Peter Kleijn, Guy Lake, Stephen Neille, Brett Newman and Karl Riedel.
A number of awards were announced on the day including the prestigious 'Gnarly Award', a Mark Richards 1980 replica twin fin surfboard which was awarded to Steve Watson, member of winning team Cliff's Carvers. In an incredible display of dedication the Managing Director of Steve Watson & Partners personally raised over $17,000 for CHeBA.
A Mick Fanning competition DHD surfboard signed by Ambassadors Richard Grellman and Wayne 'Rabbit' Bartholomew went to both Andrew Wilson and John L'Estrange who were the other top fundraisers (raising $12,278 and $11,549 respectively), with Peter Clemesha surging past $12,000 after completion of the event. Philip Vivian, Phill Wicks, Anthony Scotts and Darren Beasley were all acknowledged for raising over $5,000.
Ray White Commercial demonstrated their ongoing commitment as supporter sponsors of the November 2017 event. Nic George of Ray White was awarded the Coach's Award for his efforts at training in the lead up to the Surf Off while the 'Players' Player' award voted by fellow surfers went to John L'Estrange.
Although there was limited swell making it difficult to score high waves, it was Rabbit, Anthony Scotts and Guy Lake who took home the signed competition jerseys for their scores of 9, 8.5 and 8 respectively.
It was a sensational 360 degree spin that saw Anthony Scotts take out 'Wave of the Day' while Andrew Wilson took home the almighty 'Wipeout Award' after a gentle run in with a paddle boarder.
Spokesman for The Dementia Momentum and fellow Wipeout Dementia Ambassador, Richard Grellman AM (who is Chairman of IPH Limited, AMP Foundation and the former Chairman of the Association of Surfing Professionals (International) Limited) said the dementia epidemic poses an extraordinary health challenge to Australia.
"The challenges of dementia are enormous and confronting," said Mr Grellman.
"There remains a clear need for more resources to be directed to researching prevention and early intervention of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and without corporate support across industries we will struggle to turn the tide on this burgeoning socioeconomic issue," he said.
Wipeout Dementia is in honour of Mr Grellman's wife Suellen who has advanced young onset Alzheimer's disease and now requires full time very high level care and attention, aged just 67.
CHeBA Co-Director Professor Perminder Sachdev and Research Fellow and Clinical Neuropsychologist Dr Nicole Kochan attended the Surf Off. They expressed their appreciation to all participants, Ambassadors, Coach Craig Douglass and volunteers for helping shape a successful event.
Mr Grellman confirmed the 2017 property industry surfers had well exceeded their target of $75,000 to advance the large-scale, "big data" research being conducted at CHeBA, making this event the most successful to date.
Morgans, Kennards Hire, Ray White Commercial and Colliers International were the sponsors for Wipeout Dementia November 2017. Apparel sponsor is Hurley and The Bucket List provided in-kind support.
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