Wipeout Dementia fundraising has hit $2 million on the back of the property industry’s March 25 Bondi Beach event, with 64 heavy-hitters raising nearly $350,000 to support critical research into Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia led by the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), UNSW Sydney.
The Surf Off event was sponsored by Morgans Financial, Avenor, Aoyuan International, AWM Commercial Furniture, Buildcorp, m3property, Sense Projects, Shape Australia, Winten Property Group with event partners Colliers International, Kennards Hire and Hurley.
The 2022 event continued the initiative’s track record of success reaching $2 million raised for The Dementia Momentum, with industry representatives joining from more than 50 organisations, including Morgans, Lendlease, Buildcorp, Colliers International, UBS, CBRE and Aoyuan.
This year saw 1999 World Surfing Champion Mark Occhilupo competing in the event, generously auctioning off the board he rode in the 2019 Bells Beach Heritage Heat against American fellow pro-surfing great, Tom Curren.
“The evolution of Wipeout Dementia across the property industry has been inspirational and humbling,” spokesman for The Dementia Momentum and ambassador, Dr Richard Grellman AM, said.
Grellman is chair of IPH Limited and former chair of The Association of Surfing Professionals (International) Limited. His wife Suellen has advanced young onset Alzheimer’s disease.
“Funding for dementia research still lags considerably behind other conditions, despite it being the single greatest cause of disability burden in Australia, the leading cause of death among women and the second leading cause of death overall,” he said.
“Industry partnerships are fundamental to the future landscape of this disease and we are exceptionally grateful to the property industry.”
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 the event’s highest fundraiser, Michael Gordon, general manager of Buildcorp Interiors.
In an extraordinary effort, Gordon personally raised more than $30,000 for the cause and took his Buildcorp sponsored team to highest fundraising glory – with in excess of $90,000 raised by the group. The team was also awarded a five-hour private charter on a Sydney to Hobart winning yacht for their efforts, generously donated by Jim Cooney.
A competition DHD surfboard, signed by ambassadors Richard Grellman and Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew, went to David Kemp of Buildcorp, former NFL player Colin Scotts, Avenor director Peter Clemesha and UBS managing director Michael Hendrie, who were the other top fundraisers in this round (all raising over $10,000).
The 2022 Surf Off championship team was led by Avenor director Peter Clemesha, the driver behind the property industry events. Clemesha’s team also won the Battle Royale, which saw 64 surfers hit the water at once to compete for waves.
CHeBA co-directors, Professor Henry Brodaty and Professor Perminder Sachdev attended the event, which aims to increase awareness about the modifiable risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, while driving research funds to harness global research to prevent dementia.
A number of projects received a funding boost as a result of the March 2022 event, including the expansion of international studies under The Dementia Momentum initiative, particularly the continuation of research looking at successful brain ageing for those living to 100 and beyond.
CHeBA’s ambition is to spearhead an international effort to promote successful brain ageing and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Funds raised from this Wipeout Dementia will also provide funding to expand CHeBA’s twins research, which has been significant in determining the proportion of risk of Alzheimer’s disease that can be attributed to our genetic makeup compared to the proportion that can be attributed to lifestyle.
“Wipeout Dementia fundraising has been the launch pad for a significant number of priority research projects across CHeBA’s international consortia spanning more than 30 countries,” Brodaty said.