A WORLD record attempt leaving from Yarrawonga on Saturday will raise money for The Royal Children’s Hospital.
A group of parents of children who have had life-changing neurological treatment at the Melbourne hospital will form part of the crew trying to set a new Guinness World Record for the longest recorded journey by dragon boat.
The 22-strong crew will paddle 600 kilometres on the Murray River from Yarrawonga to Swan Hill in five to six days to raise more than $200,000 for the hospital’s neuroimaging service.
The present world record of 545.56 kilometres was set on the Missouri River in the US in 2010.
Boating for Brains was founded 12 months ago by Alex Evans and Peter Christen, whose daughters had successful neurosurgery at the RCH in 2014.
Mr Evans’ daughter Clementine, now 5, was five months when she started having more than 100 seizures a day.
The family relocated to Melbourne from London for the 18-month-year-old to have a nine-hour brain operation that stopped the seizures.
“Born totally healthy, she started having the seizures at five-and-a-half months; we totally lost her during that period,” she said.
“Boating for Brains is our way of trying to thank the RCH Neurology team for salvaging our daughter’s life.
“High quality neuroimaging was key to understanding Clementine’s condition and the incredible procedure undertaken to bring her back to us.
“We want to ensure the neurology team can rely on having imaging capabilities indefinitely, so that other parents are able to access the same level of care and expertise we received.”
Mr Christen and his family were living in outback Queensland when his daughter Olivia, now 6, was diagnosed with severe epilepsy five years ago.
She had two major brain operations to stop her seizures.
“It is impossible to describe the gratitude I feel when watching a bright young girl growing and developing, running, swimming, playing and having fun,” he said.
“Many or all of these things would not have been possible had simpler but more aggressive surgery been undertaken, or no operation undertaken. The skills of the RCH clinicians and the imaging techniques available were critical.”
The Boating for Brains crew includes paddlers from Western Australia, Queensland, NSW and Taiwan, as well as members of Melbourne dragon boat clubs.
The team will leave the boat ramp below Yarrawonga Weir at 6am on Saturday.
To donate visit everydayhero.com/au/boatingforbrains