Tough times have trimmed the fundraising tallies for the World’s Greatest Shave Mining and Energy Challenge to their lowest level in the event’s 11-year history.
But the grassroots commitment remains, with 41 registrations from sites throughout Queensland this year, according to Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland mining and energy partnerships manager Paul Barnard.
“It’s really good to see that the support is still there,” Mr Barnard said.
“But obviously, because of the cuts in people on sites, it makes it a little harder to raise funds.”
The challenge raises money to help the Leukaemia Foundation care for those whose lives have been affected by leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma, as well as backing potentially life-saving research.
BMA Blackwater Mine has been among the most loyal sites, competing every year and winning the Mining and Energy Challenge Shield for most funds raised in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014.
They were at it again this year, with a string of fundraising events culminating in a barbecue lunch, raffle and auction day in May when graduate engineers Geoffrey Kiem and Tim Shannon sacrificed their locks for the cause.
One of the organisers, executive assistant Charmaine Snelling, said they looked set to contribute almost $30,000 this year including the amount contributed by BMA under its Matched Giving Program.
“It is a lot of work but it’s also a lot of fun and it’s rewarding,” Ms Snelling said.
“I’ve been down and visited the (Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland accommodation) units and it’s definitely a worthy cause.”
Meeting the families affected by blood cancers had been a very humbling experience, she said.
A highlight of the fundraising efforts this year was auctioning BMA Blackwater managers to perform work-related tasks.
“We have one going to clean the bucket of a dragline and another has to clean a tunnel at the washplant,” Ms Snelling said.
“A couple of superintendents got pulled into it in the enthusiasm of the day and one of them now has to go cleaning with an apron on.
“The management team really got behind us. They did have the option of outbidding the bidder and one manager in particular paid nearly $1000 not to do the task (nominated).”
Money is still coming in for the 2016 Mining and Energy challenge, with sites holding events into the last weeks of June.
But Mr Barnard said he expected the funds raised statewide would reach around the $200,000 mark for 2016.
This compared to $338,000 raised last year by 52 registered teams.
“There is still support out there, it’s just a difficult time,” Mr Barnard said.
“The people are really willing but the dollars just aren’t coming through like they used to – and we can understand that. There’s been over 20,000 people who have lost their jobs in the Queensland mining and energy sector.”
The Mining and Energy Challenge has raised about $4.5 million in Queensland in its 11-year history.
People wishing to contribute to this year’s total can do so through Mr Barnard’s registration at http://my.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/paulbarnard