MERCURY SERIES - Making A Difference
Workmates and friends at Albion Park salon La Belle Beauty Therapy are running to great lengths to raise money for charity.
Co-owners Belinda Macaulay and Laurelle Swan and employee Casey Churchill are leading the charge as they prepare to run in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival to try and raise $10,000 for not-for-profit organisation Raise The Gong.
Mrs Swan became aware of the great work of the charity, run 100 per cent by volunteers, during her own family's experience with breast cancer a few years ago.
As a result of that, all her work colleagues have come to the same conclusion that it is a local organisation worthy of supporting any way they can.
"My mum died 2½ years ago of breast cancer and Raise the Gong is a charity that supports women who suffer from cancer and severe illness," she said.
"It is run by volunteers so everything raised goes straight to the cause. We have been fairly passionate, as a business, about supporting them."
Mrs Macaulay said all the volunteers at Raise the Gong worked and had families so anything she, Mrs Swan and the team at La Belle Beauty Therapy could do to raise money would be a great assistance.
"While they are not a huge charity like some of the well-known ones, the difference they make to the women of the Illawarra is significant," she said.
"They help to support women with illness with a strong focus on cancer. Free of charge they supply any woman in the Illawarra with a chemo care pack, these have lots of samples and invaluable information to help out at a difficult time.
"One of their most recent tasks was to renovate the family room at the palliative care department in Port Kembla Hospital. All these small things can make the world of difference to someone struggling with the effects of illness.
"We love that all of the funds raised go to charity and most importantly, stay in the Illawarra.
"Our business had been supporting them for the past four years since we opened and we have a passion for doing what we can to help."
Mrs Macaulay said she and Mrs Swan were lucky to have a great team behind them who had also taken on their passion.
Since they signed, some of their clients had also decided to run in the festival in Sydney on September 22.
Many other clients and staff are supporting them in other ways with cakes drives and chocolate drives at the salon.
Mrs Macaulay competed in the festival last year after Mrs Churchill, who has always liked running, talked her into it.
She agreed before she really thought about it but the personal challenge proved to be a great thing and she was able to improve her own fitness and help other people at the same time.
"I don't know how she convinced me to do it," she said.
"It was my first ever run but completing the nine kilometres was a massive feat for me. After finishing, Casey suggested we should attempt running the half marathon [21 kilometres] this year and went further to suggest we raise $10,000 for this great charity.
"So far we have managed to raise $3500."
The three women said the community could help them reach their fund-raising target over the next five weeks by logging on to raisethegong.org.au and searching for the page that would allow them to make a donation online.
Mrs Churchill recently worked a free day so everything she made on the day went to the cause.
"We have had amazing client support," she said.
"It is great some of them are joining us in the run. There are four doing the half marathon and five doing the nine kilometres," Mrs Churchill said.