The mighty challenge with a mighty purpose

  • April 6, 2022

Set against an unforgettable coastal course in Sydney, the 20/twenty Challenge raises awareness and vital funds for cerebral palsy while bringing smiles to families throughout the country.

Now in its 18th year, the 20/twenty Challenge is changing the lives of children living with cerebral palsy. Since its inception, the annual event has raised more than $8.5 million dollars for affected kids and their parents – providing much-needed access to fundamental equipment to over 3500 individuals. Taking place on April 3 this year – the challenge promises to be just as engaging and enjoyable as ever before. We spoke to the event team at Cerebral Palsy Alliance about the significant and well-known fundraising event, and why it’s never been more important to help ensure those with cerebral palsy are given the opportunity to enjoy a full, happy and inclusive life.

  • Thanks so much for taking the time to chat to us today – tell us a little bit about the 20/twenty Challenge and what makes it so special…

    “The 20/twenty Challenge is around 18 years old and was founded by James Hodgkinson – who is a member of our event committee. After being personally touched by cerebral palsy in his family and witnessing the many delays his family member experienced along the line, he could see first-hand the need for other families to receive funding and equipment for children with cerebral palsy. He decided to create a fundraising event that would raise money for these kids and their families so they didn’t have to wait for specialised equipment and wouldn’t miss out on opportunities such as playing with other kids or having an inclusive life.”

  • When we talk about delays – are we referring to the time it takes for diagnosis, the time it takes to receive necessary equipment, or both?

    “Unfortunately, it can take a long time to get a diagnosis of CP – sometimes up to 18 months. Over recent years, the full implementation of the NDIS has resulted in more equipment being funded by the government, which is a good thing and how the scheme should operate. However, the application, review and approval process can take time – leading to delays in young people getting access to vital equipment, and also often children need more than the one piece of equipment. Some of the equipment, such as a Wizzy Bug (a toddlers wheelchair) can cost up to $30,000 each and it’s not included in each package. Without it, the child in question might not be able to play or spend as much time with their peers. That’s where fundraising comes in – we try to plug those holes, ensuring kids have the equipment they need to live their best life.”

  • The 20/twenty Challenge is one of the ways you raise funds for these issues – how does the challenge work? What’s involved?

    “Each year we have around 200-250 participants across about 40-50 individual teams who participate. The aim is to fundraise for the kids and to complete ‘the challenge’ on the day. The challenge consists of a swim at Shelly Beach and then a walk from Clontarf all along the Manly foreshore. At Clontarf, participants then kayak to Chinaman’s Beach and then depending on which division they’re in – they walk or run around the foreshore of Mosman, up to Georges Heights and back to Chinaman’s to kayak to the end. It’s not just a fundraising challenge – it’s very much a physical challenge, too.”

  • Can anyone participate in the challenge or is it only for family and friends of those suffering from cerebral palsy?

    “A lot of the people who have participated in the challenge have either had a family member or friend touched by the condition, have been moved by the experience and have encouraged their social groups to come along and join in the fun. Most people who get involved come back every year. We also have a number of volunteers from CPA, as well as corporate sponsors and teams. It’s a great experience for everyone!”

  • nudie is donating juice on the day and we’ll have a few familiar faces in the crowd – what does it mean to the organisation to have corporate sponsorship and donations?

    “It helps us make sure all the fundraising efforts go where they need to go. We try to get everything sponsored, including our staff on the day. So, instead of spending $1000 on juice, we can put that $1000 towards purchasing specialised equipment or providing loan equipment for families trying to find the right fit for their child before buying. Essentially we’re able to put that money where it needs to go, and we want to be able to do this as much as possible.”

  • Has COVID-19 impacted your ability to host this (and other) fundraising events?

    “Sadly, over the last few years our events have been impacted by either the bushfires or COVID-19. We have had to postpone at times and we’ve also moved the dates to different times in other instances. Last year we ran the 20/Twenty Challenge in June and people swam with their wetsuits on! But truthfully, helping the kids is so important that we will do our best to make sure these events happen no matter what, so that we can fundraise and help those in need. In Australia, 1 child every 20 hours is born with CP – so it’s incredibly important.”

  • How can our nudie community get involved?

    “They can head to our official website where they can make a donation to individuals or a team if they’re in a position to do so or they can sign up for the challenge!”

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