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The Gold Coast BMX community has come together to organise a significant fundraising dinner for injured two-time Olympian Sam Willoughby. Led by former athlete Melissa Mankowski, a friend of the Willoughby family, the dinner will…

The Gold Coast BMX community has come together to organise a significant fundraising dinner for injured two-time Olympian Sam Willoughby.

Led by former athlete Melissa Mankowski, a friend of the Willoughby family, the dinner will coincide with round one of the Chambikx/Probikx UCI and Grands Assault National Series to be held at the Nerang BMX Club just days later.

Taking place at the Parkwood International, the night will include a two-course meal, drinks package, silent auction, door prizes, raffles and a little more. For Mankowski a simple idea has quickly gained traction.

“I have been overwhelmed with the amount of support, it’s amazing and a positive outcome for Sam,” Mankowski said.

“I just wanted to do something a little bit different, out of the box. Our riders understand the dedication, sacrifice and hard work that goes into being on your game and at the top of your sport.

“Riders spend most of their year travelling and being away from family and friends.

“It hit home a little bit more that Sam is one of our own, I have known the Willoughby family for over 20 years.

“I have been there and done that as a rider, but Sam took that to a whole new level when he went overseas and I feel that this is the least I could do for him.”

Willoughby’s injuries, incurred on September 10, left the worldwide BMX community in a state of shock. However there has been an outpouring of support for the multiple world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist in the months since.

His coach Wade Bootes was lost for words when talking to Seven News, but did commend the ability of Australian’s to support one another.

“It’s just not fair, he does a lot of stuff here on the gold coast, a lot of training camps,” Bootes said.

“It’s a terrific opportunity for the BMX community to come together. Australia is known for determined and dedication and passion for getting stuff done.”

The Strengthfor91 Fundraising Dinner will take place on Wednesday January 4, beginning at 6pm at the Parkwood International.

If you wish to attend, please CLICK HERE to register. Tickets are $120.00 per person, or $1000 for a table of 10.

Highlights of the night will include:

  • The Gold Coast Titans will bring some players and have booked a table. They have also donated a game day experience and signed merchandise.
  • BMX International have donated a redline bike.
  • Sony Mobile have donated a phone to raffle.
  • Telstra Robina Gold Coast have booked a table
  • Mitch Ramm has a Mitch Ramm Industries gift package
  • Anthony Howie Waye and Lucky Bling have donated a care package
  • Corey Stafford from DK/LKI has offered a gift pack
  • Corey Hill has donated his time to be our DJ AND MC for the night.
  • Renee Junga has donated a signed Australian world championship jersey signed by the 2012 Australian BMX Olympic Team
  • Sam Hill 5 x MTB World Champion signed jersey
  • Some of Australia and New Zealand’s greatest athletes have donated signed memorabilia.
  • Wade Bootes and his team are coming along.

A thanks also goes to the following people for their support so far: 

  • Darren Varley and the team at Nerang BMX
  • 7 news Gold Coast hope to be there on the night to cover the event. Their initial story (which you can watch below) just ticked over 15,000 views!

You can see full details of the evening HERE.