All hands on deck

By Madeleine Byron

Wanalta may not be at the top of every Victorian’s list to visit, however a visit from former AFL star Shane Crawford would be a good way to put the community on the map.

Kicking off the Shearing For Kids With Cancer’s fifth fundraising event, Bill and Katrina Ogden and Bill and Val Barlow set their sights on raising more than $50000 for the children’s charity My Room.

Mrs Ogden said after last year’s efforts, My Room invited them to dare the former Hawthorn premiership player to shear a sheep.

‘‘Shane being a country boy accepted the dare and we’re keen to see if he can talk the talk of shearing a sheep today,’’ she said.

The event — which is held at the Barlow family farm, Corydon, each year — moves 700 sheep through the clippers.

‘‘Everyone in the shed works for free and Bill doubles the normal rate per sheep shorn and donates it straight into the My Room fund,’’ Mrs Ogden said.

‘‘In return all his sheep are done and dusted and out in the paddock.’’

Raffle prizes donated on the day included two grand final tickets and a two-hour helicopter flight from Essendon to the Yarra Valley valued at $1500.

Mrs Ogden said the continued support from the Wanalta community, west of Rushworth, was ‘‘unreal’’.

‘‘We’ve got people shearing, wool classing, people volunteering their time, heaps of people helping with food, including morning smoko and a two-course meal for lunch,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s a great day raising money for a great cause.’’

Mr Barlow said the background story was ‘‘the town pulled together to help out a young girl in need’’.

‘‘One of the local girls was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and was spending a lot of time at the Royal Children’s Hospital so we hosted a shearing day where everybody volunteered their time to help the family out,’’ he said.

That girl’s name is Lori Perry.

Her mother Carlee Perry said she hadn’t looked back since the news of Lori’s remission.

‘‘To actually think back about what we went through day by day, it was just horrific and no-one should have to see their child suffer the pain — it was just horrible,’’ Mrs Perry said.

She said Lori, now a seven-year-old, was full of attitude and living a normal life.

Thanks to the continued support from the community, Mrs Perry said her family was able to take the time needed to spend with their daughter and fight the cancer head on.

‘‘We’re very blessed to live in such a loving community and for these guys to rally around us it was just mind-blowing,’’ she said.