Telethon was back to its very best this year.
As someone posted on social media, “We’re back with a bang, boom boom shake the room”.
The “room” this year was the mighty RAC Arena and when the milestone donation figure of $500 million was surpassed, a massive conga line broke out as the people of WA were thanked for their generous donations over the past 55 years.
It was a moment to treasure.
The most bizarre moment of the whole event was the 76-year-old man from Bull Creek who waltzed up to the Prime Minister in his Borat-inspired mankini.
I spoke with John Bradley and he said his mates had pledged $25,000 if he wore his highly unusual beachwear in front of the PM so, as he said, “what option did I have? I did it for the kids”.
On Saturday night the first lip-sync battle was launched, with David Koch from Sunrise dressed as Michael Hutchence and Home & Away’s Lynne McGranger as Tina Turner.
The second battle topped the charts when 7NEWS presenter Rick Ardon emerged in a sleek all-white outfit for a rendition of a Backstreet Boys hit.
Rick shone alongside footy hardman Luke Hodge, entertainment guru Peter Ford, Better Homes and Gardens’ Charlie Albone and sporting great Matt Shirvington.
What’s not known, though, is the 7NEWS legend carried a bad knee injury into the performance but danced on magnificently, inspired by the great cause that is Telethon.
Eagles star Nic Naitanui was another strong performer, overcoming performance anxiety and a temperamental teleprompter to be the first footballer to open the show.
The weekend was also a triumph for rugby league icon Matt Fuller. Twenty years ago, I casually mentioned to Matt that he should do some form of physical challenge for Telethon.
Well he’s certainly done that. The first year he pulled on a rowing machine in a crazy relay for 24 hours before pivoting to a grinder in 2012 and completely wrecking his shoulder, requiring a reconstruction.
After that it was the cross-ski trainer which caused Fuller to need groin surgery after suffering pins and needles in his feet for six months before a solo stationary bike ride of 571km in 24 hours saw him suffer erectile dysfunction for six weeks.
Sheep, as he’s known, is an unofficial Telethon legend who has raised more than $2m by simply putting his body through hell.
It seems when it comes to Telethon, the more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you have.
As for the 7 and West Australian newspaper celebrities and Perth newsroom staff — well, I think they’d all agree it’s really an honour to be involved.
I guess the best way to say it is we have “get to” jobs. By caring about those less fortunate than ourselves, we get to be involved in something special.
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