Rallying call to help kids with kidney disease

OFFICER man Michael Van Den Acker is gearing up to take on this year’s Kidney Kar Rally next month, combining his passion for racing with his and his mate’s will to help those in need.
He will be joined by mate David Welch who make up Team Rusty Racing, to take on the challenge again this year after having won the gruelling two-week rally last year in their 1984 Nissan Bluebird.
Michael and David both work in the School of Engineering at the RMIT University in Melbourne, and their involvement in the rally combines their love of rally driving, radio technology and helping Kidney Health Australia.
“Being able to go sideways through the bush and around Australia is good fun, especially when it’s for kids with kidney disease,” Michael said.
“Very few people realise that more Australians die with kidney-related disease than from breast cancer, prostate cancer and even road traffic accidents.
“Living with kidney disease can be extremely difficult, with dialysis often required three days a week for up to five hours at a time to stay healthy.
For a child this can be a very isolating experience when they should be outside, having fun, and doing things that other children enjoy.”
This year the rally will travel from Bathurst to Taree in NSW, via Dubbo from 12 – 20 August 2016.
The Kidney Kar Rally is Kidney Health Australia’s most important annual fund-raiser, raising funds for kids and young people with the disease.
Last year rally participants raised over $700,000.
David says the Kidney Kar Rally is really challenging, with the route between towns only revealed at the last minute.
“This means good radio technology is even more important as we’re never quite sure how remote we will be from one day to the next,” David said.
“We use APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System) which is used by amateur radio operators around the world. It is special as it uses a shortwave radio to send our location to the internet. This allows our supporters and family to track where we are in real-time.”
Kidney Health Australia interim CEO, Rosanna Care, wished Rusty Racing luck for 2016.
“The most wonderful people, like Michael and David, come together for the Kidney Kar Rally, some with their own personal tragedies and challenges relating to kidney disease, and work within their communities to raise money and ensure the Kidney Kar Rally is a success, year upon year,” Ms Care said.
“On behalf of Kidney Health Australia, I thank Michael and David, and all of our rally participants for their incredible support.”

By ANEEKA SIMONIS

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