What do Moorooduc Quarry, icy bay plunges and Gaelic Sword Fighting all have in common?

Under the misty veil of a bitterly chilly winter’s morning, immersed in icy sea water lapping the bottom of Oliver’s Hill, you may find a spirited pod of Mount Eliza Kunyung Primary School mums and dads swimming. They swim for fitness, but also for the challenge.  It is cold!! 

It was as part of these swims that the committee for the MY Mount Eliza Run & Fun Festival came into being.  Geoff Nyssen, an inspired local dad, gathered a few like-minded dads over a beer and shared his idea to develop an event concept that benefitted the community.  Before long, the MY Mount Eliza Committee was formed.  It’s amazing what can get started over a beer!

Why you need to register for the MY Mount Eliza Run & Fun Festival today

On Sunday 26 March 2017, MY Mount Eliza Run & Fun Festival will bring local families together in the stunning landscape that is our Mount Eliza Regional Park. A range of unique activities will be on offer – including a 5 km or 10 km trail run or walk winding around the hidden treasure that is Moorooduc Quarry; a premium skate park competition and Gaelic Sword Fighting!

The Festival is an event that will raise awareness and funds for Myeloma Australia, an advocacy organisation that provides support to those affected by Myeloma. In addition, the festival is to realise the goals embodied in MY Wellness, MY Empowerment and MY Community.  The vision expressed in these festival goals extend all the way to you –MY Community.

Round up your friends and family and register today

Strength and resilience: rich fodder for a happy, healthy community

This unique community event is a gift to the people of Mount Eliza.  The festival committee rallied together determined to celebrate and rouse a community that is strong, empowered and resilient. 

Geoff Nyssen knows only too well, the priceless asset that resilience is. In 2014, at only 40 years old, Geoff was diagnosed with the terminal blood cancer Multiple Myeloma. Many of you will already know Geoff’s story through either his blog or his motivational speaking. You’ll also find an article published on page 58 of the 4 November 2016 Mornington Peninsula Magazine on the media page of the festival’s website.

If you are familiar with his story, you will know that Geoff is a man who has been generously open about the challenges that he and his family face.  Working to triumph over adversity, Geoff has worked closely with Myeloma Australia to engage a younger audience, tirelessly sharing his personal empowerment story to inspire others.

Throughout our conversation, Angela shared her deep admiration for how Geoff has set the benchmark for always looking outward at a time when he would be absolutely entitled to focus inward.

Meet Angela Beattie

Over the past few weeks, the Live Love Mount Eliza team have had the pleasure of catching up with Committee member, working Mum and Oliver’s Hill iceberger, Angela Beattie to find out more.

Live Love Mount Eliza Founder and local real estate agent, Vicki Sayers first met Angela when Vicki sold her home. Angela and Vicki built a relationship through this significant life transaction.

When Vicki asked me to explore this story further, she was enthralled by the opportunity to share this extraordinary community story. Based on Angela’s account of Vicki’s role in selling her home, the respect is mutual.

“I think she (Vicki) is one of the most genuine property estate agents I’ve met. She gets the relational part of the transaction and invests in that.”

Angela radiates a humble and steady compassion for humanity and building communities.  It is clear early on in our conversation that a key driver for her generous dedication to philanthropy is setting an example for her three children.

Having played an active role in working with underprivileged communities, partnering with not for profit organisations like the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation and connecting corporate organisations with community need, I asked Angela where such selfless intrinsic motivation stemmed from.

”We all have a responsibility to always champion people around us, to think about people before us and people after us,” she said.

Throughout the interview, the thoughtful and articulate way she expressed the vision of MY Mount Eliza Run & Fun Festival demonstrated to me a profound personal investment in making this event successful.

MPM-NOV-2016-MYMOUNTELIZASKATE-1-13 - Committee at Skate Park.jpg

Let’s talk about Geoff. How did you meet him?

We’re fellow Kunyung Primary School families. Would you believe, I only met Geoff in winter this year. Before then, I had only heard about his personal stories of resilience that he was generously sharing.

Making the most of a beautiful winter’s day, Geoff joined me for an icy swim off Moondah Beach.  It was from this connection, that my involvement in the event grew.

Geoff’s story was very confronting, particularly when he, the Committee and I are all of a similar age. In such a short time, Geoff has shown us all how to engage and inspire others and to generously give back to the community. 

How did the Committee’s vision become a Prospectus for a community event?

Our beautiful school community (including the icebergers) started gathering around how we might best harness the momentum Geoff had already created in raising awareness about Myeloma.

While raising awareness and funds for Myeloma Australia was a worthy goal, we agreed collectively that we had an opportunity to achieve a vision well beyond this.  In an economy where so many commendable causes are seeking to raise awareness and funds, we knew we had to grow a more encompassing and compelling vision – a unique proposition that stood out.  Geoff shared with us the empowerment he felt in being so well supported by community.

This shifted our vision to how we could reinstate the power of a shared sense of community – and particularly, build a community that is strong and resilient.  A strong, healthy and happy community imparts mutual trust and promotes living active lives.  The vision is to build a community that is there to support others and break a fall, as well as being there to propel individuals to be the very best they can be.

We believe that bringing people together for a one-of-a-kind annual event focused on health and wellness while leveraging the stunning local natural environments we have around us, can facilitate achieving this vision. 

"We want to promote a strong and happy community who feel supported and in turn, want to give back." 

Based on our own experiences – we understood the power of gathering people together around a uniquely challenging activity.

We took Geoff’s lead, by challenging boundaries.  Our Prospectus grew around this vision

[The Committee have articulated the vision, values and objectives very clearly on their website. I encourage you to visit mymounteliza.org.au to learn more.]

How has the Mount Eliza community rallied around this vision?

We have had fantastic support from our Kunyung School community.  Five local school Dads, Geoff, his brother and I have formed the Committee with focused intent to bring our vision to life.  We are all working parents, so to dedicate our time to this cause shows our commitment to our community and giving back.

We’ve been humbled by the support of Kunyung Primary School’s Musical Conductor, Lynne Edwards, local community groups and local business.  Many local businesses have shown that they believe in our event and our vision and have either signed up as Sponsors, or have been open to exploring sponsorship. We’re eager to lock in all our Sponsors by December so we can turn our focus to planning a fantastic event.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Ritchies IGA CEO, Fred Harrison. For those that know Fred, he is a generous soul with community in his heart. He is committed to helping us realise our vision and is a Gold Sponsor of the event.

Idyllic Mornington Peninsula destination Peninsula Hot Springs is also generously supporting us as a Gold Sponsor.

And of course, we’re very excited to have Vicki Sayers’ Live Love Mount Eliza on board as a Silver Sponsor. Vicki is a true advocate of supporting our local community, so it’s a great fit.

We’ve also had fantastic support from Mornington Peninsula Magazine, the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and Mornington Railway.

Keep an eye on our MY Mount Eliza Run & Fun Festival website and Facebook page to stay updated on sponsorships and what’s happening.

How else can our local community support bringing this great event and vision to life?

We’d love to put out a shout out for more local business sponsors. Being a local business sponsor is an opportunity to get behind the vision for our community, as well as promote your business. You’ll find a contact form on our website.

We’ll also need around 100 volunteers on the day, and in the lead up to the event. We welcome any support our community is able to offer to bring the event to life.

What we really need right now is for individuals, groups and families to register for the 5km or 10km trail run. We’d love to see around 1,000 local people gathering together around the inaugural Festival.

Making a genuine commitment by registering now will generate the community buzz to power momentum as we move toward 26 March 2017. This is a gift to Mount Eliza and we really want our locals to make the most of what is right in front of them. 

Article funded by Vicki Sayers, Live Love Mount Eliza | Written by Julie Pearce, Content Services Melbourne

Where to go to find out more and register

Visit:  MY Mount Eliza Run & Fun Festival website