Article submitted by President Peter Cracknell - Rotary Club of Frankston Sunrise
Very Special Kids (VSK) provides hospice and extensive out-patient support services to children and families suffering serious and usually life-threatening health conditions.
For a number of years, VSK has operated a 24-Hr Treadmill Challenge adjacent to its Hawthorn based hospice as one of its major fundraising initiatives.  We approached them earlier this year about running a local community-based version of their event – a first for VSK.
Out of those discussions came our 12-Hr Treadmill Challenge run at the Core24 Gym in Frankston on Sunday October 20th 2019.  With an original target of $20k, we actually raised over $22k with a little more still to come in.
Local companies were encouraged to pay a $1k sponsorship to secure a branded treadmill.  Each then put together a team of runners/walkers made up of staff, family and friends, who were rostered to be on the treadmill for 30-minute shifts across the 12 hours.  All participants were encouraged to do their own individual fundraising, with the entire fundraising managed online.
In our 1st year, we had 8 treadmills with over 150 participants throughout the day.  Our Treadmills were supported by Core24, Lite ‘n Easy, Ray White Frankston, Willerbys Solicitors, Lifecare Physio, Frankston Police, Rotary Frankston Sunrise.  But probably the team that everyone really enjoyed was the team from Focus Individualised Support Services with half their running team made up of their amazing, enthusiastic and always smiling disabled clients, who like everyone else were on a treadmill and raising funds for Very Special Kids. 
The team that took away the trophy for the highest fundraising effort was Lite ‘n Easy, who also looked after all participants with a supply of their healthy snacks, which were gratefully received after a workout!
Beyond exceeding our financial target, our learnings have led us already to commit to a 2nd event same time next year.  We have plans to significantly grow both the event and our fundraising efforts. 
The reaction of our sponsoring partners was excellent, with all keen to come back next year with their own plans to make their involvement larger. 
For their part, Very Special Kids is beyond pleased and is keen to use this event as a template for rolling out similar events across their regional operations across the state.