Support medical team Paul and Sarah Gold on their deep-altitude adventure, raising money for Variety | Lismore City News

WATCH: Nearly 50 ATVs left the driveway of the Mercure Canberra Hotel on Wednesday morning, making their way south to the Yarra Valley, raising money for Children in Need and having a good time along the way.

After 16 years of following charity car “raiders” to collect donations in some of the most remote areas of Australia’s eastern states, it’s a wonder emergency nurse Paul Gould hasn’t had to treat a single snake bite.

He said, “Oh, no, this makes me feel better.” “Now it’s bound to happen.”

With their former Queensland Ambulance, a Land Cruiser, full of medical supplies and equipment, Gould and his daughter Sarah set off from Canberra this week to follow a field of four-wheel drive drivers to raise funds on their way to Canada. (Yarra Valley, Victoria).

The route will take the 50 vehicles through the Victoria Highlands, ending on November 23. Meals, accommodation and itinerary are provided, along with medical support from Mr Gold, if necessary.

Paul and Sarah Gold are part of "crush" Medical support team.  Photo by Keegan Carroll
Paul and Sarah Gold are part of the BASH medical support team. Photo by Keegan Carroll

Each team car must commit to raising at least $5,000, with offerings along the way for sick children and their families.

When Charlie’s not on a charity car convoy, Gould is involved in air medical logistics for the Queensland Recovery Service, which charters helicopters and light aircraft to pick up and drop off patients across his home state.

Event organizers always have their own medical support team as they aim to be self-sufficient, and do not want to beat already limited resources into the bush.

Despite covering thousands of rugged kilometers as volunteer medical support for the charity fundraiser, this was Mr Gold’s first ‘bash’ visit to Canberra, the starting point for the latest event.

This is also his first time with his 24-year-old daughter, who is also a nurse but has never driven off-road before.

“I’ll teach her along the way,” he said.

All important medical equipment.  Photo by Keegan Carroll
All important medical equipment. Photo by Keegan Carroll

Charity bash events of various types are regularly held, and Variety Charity has been doing this for the longest time, with events for 2WD and 4WD vehicles. By the time this particular event is over, over $1 million will have been donated.

“Most people at this event have been planning it for 18 months,” Mr. Gould said.

“For them, it’s a celebration of their fundraising efforts.

“Plus they meet new people, see some great parts of the country and, for some of them, learn more about their 4×4 in a safe and supported way.”

With the exception of one car rollover a few years ago — “nothing serious, no one got hurt,” he says — the events have been relatively accident-free.

But it carries a wide range of medical equipment just in case, from a defibrillator to snake bite treatment kits. The two nurses are accompanied by a doctor, all the ‘attackers’ are connected via UHF radio and the medical vehicle also has a satellite phone ‘just in case’.

Sarah views her first ‘party’ as an adventure and faced her first challenge when she had to pack everything for 15 days in a small dustproof box mounted on the roof of a Toyota.

“No makeup, no nice things, just some basic clothes; it wasn’t fun at all,” she said.

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