A very special herd of heifers are enjoying a short visit in the Barossa, en route from the Northern Territory to Bondi Beach in Sydney.
The 30 Poll Hereford heifers have been donated by the Hayes family of Undoolya Station for the Herd of Hope – a cattle drive which aims to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation, and driven by Tanunda’s Megan McLoughlin.
Mrs McLoughlin – who was left legally blind after a routine operation in 2008 – was the recipient of a double transplant (kidney and pancreas) in December 2010.
Not long after, she met her now husband Mark – and seven years later, they have two beautiful children, Sam, 3, and Ella, 22 months.
This “second chance” – received 20 days after being given the news she had a month to live – has spurred her on to raise awareness and support for not only organ recipients, but also donors and their families.
“For a donor family, once it (donation) has happened, there’s no mental health follow-up,” Mrs McLoughlin said.
“As a recipient, my donor family is invaluable; the only reason I’m here today is because of them.”
And while the main event is set to hit Bondi on March 17, the Barossa is being invited to get involved by taking part in a pre-event fundraising dinner at Seppeltsfield Winery on Saturday, February 3.
Funds raised at the Steer the Herd dinner will be used to pay for a world first study through University of SA which aims to identify the issues associated with being a rural-based recipient of an organ transplant, as well as a camp for children whose families have been affected by organ donation.
The generosity of the Barossa has shone through for this fundraiser.
Seppeltsfield has donated the use of its facilities for free, and Owen Andrews will be catering at minimal cost to the charity.
“Our only cost for the dinner is the food – all other monies will be going directly to the cause,” Mrs McLoughlin said.
Greenock’s Jersey Fresh have donated supplies as well as a “poddy booth” where guests can take photos with Jersey calves.
Barossa and Light Taxi has donated all transfers from the airport for the special guests, as well as having travel availability to and from the event as a priority, and donation a six-hour wine tour for the silent auction.
The guests will include AFL stars, McLeod’s Daughters creator Posie Graeme-Evans, UniSA’s Professor Ian Olver and two moving speakers with personal organ donation experiences.
AFL Hall of Fame member Graham Cornes will provide entertainment with his band Cornesy’s Allstars, and there will also be a ‘surprise’ stockmen event.
The dress code is formal ‘with a crack of country’ and, with stockmen included, it promises to be a bush shindig like no other.
Meanwhile, the Herd of Hope heifers will be enjoying the comforts offered to them at Stockwell thanks to the generous support of Farmer Johns owners Marlene and Greg Schubert, before they embark on the next leg of their journey to the “big smoke”.
“They (Marlene and Greg) have been amazing,” Mrs McLoughlin said.
- Tickets for the Steer the Herd dinner must be purchased by January 25. Visit herdofhope.com.au for more details.