A big heart for helping kids

Greg Klease is embarking on another fundraising drive for Variety The Children's Charity.

Eilish Massie

He’s a man with a big heart, a love of four-wheel driving and raising money for children’s charity.

Greg Klease is embarking on another fundraising drive for Variety The Children’s Charity.

The Gladstone man has been raising money for children for the past 40 years and was first inspired to do so in the late 1980s when a little girl lost her life to leukaemia in Emerald.

“She really affected me a lot,” Mr Klease said.

“She ended up dying from Leukemia and it still, after all these years, affects me.”

The former Reef City Ford owner has dressed up as a convict, a monk, rode a tandem bike, has pushed his friend in a cast-iron hospital bed down a busy highway as well gotten in trouble with the law all in the name of charity.

“We used to push my friend on an old cast iron hospital bed on wheels from Capella to Emerald for about 50km for money,” he said.

“That’s when it was only a skinny bitumen road.

“And we wouldn’t let the cars pass until they gave us some money.

“One day we even stopped a bus, and they reported us to the police and the Emerald Police came out with a trailer to take our bed away. Luckily we knew Vince Lester, who was a Member of Parliament who convinced them to let us go,” he said.

Mr Klease will drive with Jill Hopson, Shelley Holzheimer or Councillor Desley O’Grady in his trusty red Ford Ranger at this year’s Variety Dash for Kids, the charity’s newest road-trip fundraising event.

He will join hundreds of people as the Dash kicks off in Gladstone on November 8.

The Dash involves a lengthy five-day trip where participants will drive old and new cars, 2-wheel and 4-wheel drives, through to Blackwater, Alpha, Carnarvon Gorge and Hervey Bay.

Participants will also stay overnight at the original RM Williams’ property at Rockybar Station.

Variety Queensland CEO Steve Wakerly said the annual dash would provide a welcome economic boost to the country towns they visit.

“Our events are renowned for being fun, with lots of activities, themed cars, great evening functions, backed by amazing scenery and the opportunity to visit small communities – all for the important cause of helping kids get a fair go in life,” he said.

The Dash requires participants to fundraise $3500 or more per vehicle (minimum two people per car).

The funds raised will help kids who are sick, disadvantaged or living with disability get support from Variety Queensland with new equipment, services and scholarships, and programs and experiences.

Mr Klease, who will spend his birthday during the trek, said the real heroes were the children’s parents.

“We see lots of things with children and one thing we learn with Variety is you should never be afraid to cry,” he said.

“The heroes are the parents who love these children dearly and are with them 24/7.

“The dash makes you feel good as you are doing what you can to help.”

Registrations are now open for those interested in participating in the Dash.

To register your interest go to www.varietydashqld.com or phone 07 3907 9300.