TOM O’Toole is set to undertake an adventure in his 1930 A Model Ford across the country with his best mate, Keith McIntosh.
The pair hopes to raise awareness and money for the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Centre.
The two mates have taken up the challenge of driving the vintage car over 7,443 kilometres from Byron Bay, New South Wales to Shark Bay, Western Australia in around 30 days. The pair is not new to a slow road trip, having previously driven to the tip of Cape York and along the Birdsville track in the car; all at maximum speed of 50 kilometres per hour.
Tom O’Toole is the founder of the famous Beechworth Bakery chain, successful inspirational speaker and self-described kindergarten failure-turned-author.
With a formidable sense of humour and an enthusiasm bordering on inspired frantic madness, he has spearheaded the rebirth of a dying country town by turning his bakery into a phenomenon of Australian small business, which continues to gather strength and speed. Tom is passionate about regional Australia and its potential.
On the trip the pair, who have both been impacted by cancer, are aiming to raise over $100,000.00 for the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute. Tom will be speaking at events on the trip, sharing his business and its marketing story success as well as hilarious anecdotes from the trip.
Events are planned for Goondiwindi, Alice Springs, Geraldton and Ballarat.
Mr O’Toole said, “Keith has been my best mate for most of my life, and to both of us the old A Model feels a bit like the third member of the party. The old girl is 87 years old and prone to breaking down; just as well she’s always easy to fix. On a good day we will average around 45 kilometres an hour, on a great day we’ll average 50… simply because there’s a tail wind.” “We’ve been doing a few mad trips together over the years, trips people said couldn’t be done, and we did them anyway. Just because we could. We both like a good challenge and we can put up with each other’s company while tootling along endless roads at a snail’s pace.
“Both Keith and I have lost friends and family to cancer, and since this might be the last trip of our ‘awesome threesome’ we thought we’d make it count by raising some money and awareness for cancer research.
“I’ve always been a huge believer in supporting good causes, especially in a regional context. So to do this whole thing knowing we’re doing our bit to help support the fantastic work the institute does is a real bonus!” Cancer is something that touches many families, with current rates, it is expected that 1 in 2 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.
The Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute is a world class cancer research facility based in Ballarat, Victoria. As Australia’s only regionally based cancer research centre, we are non-government, and rely on the generous support of the community to continue research into more effective ways to diagnose and treat cancer.
Professor George Kannourakis from the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute said, “As a non-government funded organisation, the Institute relies on the generous support and effort of people like Tom and Keith, to continue our work.” An online fundraising page has been created. For more information on the trip and to donate, visit www.fecri.org.au. All donations over $2 are tax deductable.