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Every once in a while, when our staff donates its time for charity, there’s a bit of an extra payoff… and when it happens, its the ‘feel good’ feeling of this year, or any year.
Webmedia donated its efforts to assist the Spinal Injury Association of Fiji with its Charity Gala event held on the 11th of October at the prestigious Grand Pacific Hotel. Our team members helped with design, video and other contributions. For their efforts, we were fortunate enough to obtain a few tickets to this amazing event and words cannot describe how special the evening went.
The evening’s host, former Fiji President, Sir Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and household name MC, Lenora Qereqeretabua consistently charmed the full ballroom. Renowned Pasifika Voices Choir, on the literal cusp of international recognition for their contributions to the upcoming Disney film Moana, led by its already acclaimed Director, composer, conductor and all-around great guy, Igelese Ete delivered one hair-raising song after another. After dinner, Eric Rush, without the aid of a single written note, literally slayed the audience who were kept on the edge of their seats with his entertaining banter.
Equal parts funny and poignant, Mr. Rush brought the crowd to a point of exhaustion with laughter and then would turn them on a dime weaving in one of his well-earned life lessons. Who’d of thunk it?…. that ornery guy on the field, the leader who delivered one bone crushing hit after another for two decades, was the funniest, smartest and most charming person in the room. He recognised and shared in Fiji’s Olympic Gold achievement and we heard a plea from Lenora for him to take over our currently coachless National 7’s team… we can’t think of a better idea. Perhaps our Prime Minister, also in attendance, can whisper in the ear of some of the FRU’s decision makers.
Not to be lost in the maze of such world-class entertainment, people affected with spinal injuries were situated all around the audience. It was clear to see, they were the happiest of all those present, and witnessing the overwhelming support they could receive from their fellow brothers and sisters. Critical money was raised, their struggles were emphatically recognised and they participated and shared in one of Fiji’s most special events.
Additionally, kudos must go out to the administrators of the Spinal Injury Association of Fiji, all the sponsors and particularly, and especially, to two unknown warriors who put in ridiculous amounts of behind-the-scenes effort to make this event happen, Selai Vonutabua and Jim Gilchrist. These two drove this project from its inception to its completion and they were never publically recognised, surely the way these two extremely humble Samaritans would have wanted it. But the cat is out of the bag, Selai and Jim made this event happen and they are truly awesome!
Finally, when our team donates work, they always make me proud. When they get an opportunity to share in a little bit of the post-donation ‘good karma’, there is no better feeling for me. Above are photos with Susan and Monica from our team getting their Rush on… God Bless Susan, God Bless Monica, you two both did incredible work and I’m so glad that you got to see what resulted from it. Vinaka vakalevu to you both and to everyone from our team and to all who helped make last night such a special occasion.
Lastly, all the efforts of each and every person involved in the Charity Gala event, contributed to a very worthwhile cause. It wasn’t for guests to enjoy delicious food, heart-stopping entertainment and uplifting speeches, but a night to come together and support not only the Fiji Spinal Injuries community, but also those bravely living with this disability worldwide.
I’d like to close with these words from All Black legend, Richie McCaw, “We want to do what we can so they can live with dignity and purpose.”