The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW is throwing its support behind the Herd of Hope charity cattle drive at Bondi Beach on the morning of Saturday March 17.
Families of both organ donors and organ recipients are invited to help set up the yards at Bondi Beach on the afternoon before the Herd of Hope’s Saturday morning cattle drive.
Donors can make contributions to the cause, and organizers are calling for sponsors of individual cattle in the parade.
The Herd of Hope is hosting a gala event to raise awareness and support for services to the families and loved ones of organ donors as well as transplant recipients, which are sadly lacking across rural and regional Australia.
“We at the RAS are pleased to be able to support Herd of Hope in this very important effort,” said Murray Wilton, general manager agriculture and Sydney Royal Easter Show.
“Support for rural and regional NSW is very much at the heart of what we are about and when approached by Herd of Hope organisers we were only too happy to be involved.”
The Hayes family of Undoolya Station in the Northern Territory donated 30 Poll Hereford heifers for the cattle drive.
A team of stockmen on horseback will drive the heifers along the promenade and onto southern end of the beach.
Of the 74,000 deaths that occurred in 2015, 920 resulted in organ transplants. Australia ranks 22 in international organ donation rates, one of the lowest for a developed nation.
Sick people in the bush are hundreds or event thousands of kilometres from expert care. Those awaiting transplants may be forced to relocate to major cities, to be close to transplant facilities at major hospitals when organs become available.
“Bringing cattle onto Bondi Beach will create conversations about the differences in living in the country to city life, raising the issue of access to health care and mental health services,” said event organiser Lizzie Mazur.
"We want to highlight that if you live in rural and regional Australia the access to services is often limited.
“We will help those in rural areas have improved access to mental health support by developing initiatives for both donor families and transplant recipients. It is a very exciting time to make a positive change.”
People and businesses can sponsor heifers in the cattle drive, or they can donate to the overall cause.
The cattle drive is set for the morning of Saturday March 17. The yards will go up the day before, beginning at 2pm, Friday March 16.
As well as promoting organ donation, the event will muster support for research with the University of South Australia to develop counselling services for organ donor families and transplant care nurses in the bush to guide organ recipients through the challenging recovery process.
The Herd of Hope will be a family-focused affair kicking off in the morning, with a country breakfast cook up and the best of the ag industries showing off where our food comes from, as well as a petting-zoo for little ones.