The Toowoomba community is no stranger to digging deep, yet it was still a surprise when the annual Easternwell It's A Bloke Thing Foundation lunch broke records yesterday, raising in excess of $1.2 million.
The Australian Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia will match the funds raised at the lunch, making it the most successful fundraising daytime event in Australia.
Much to the delight of the crowd, Toowoomba-based businessmen and foundation members Gary Gardner, John Wagner, Mark Crampton and John Fitzgibbons wore nothing more than Akubras, Drizabones and boxer shorts to launch the new major national fundraising campaign.
The 2014 It's A Bloke Thing Foundation chairman Gary Gardner, who along with John Wagner has suffered through prostate cancer, said the campaign was a way of engaging all Australians to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research.
"We have had overwhelming support from the Queensland community, which today has seen us raise more than $1 million for prostate cancer search," he said.
"The aim with the campaign is to reach people at a grass roots level and get them on board too," Mr Gardner said.
"We are extremely appreciative for the local support we have received through companies like Easternwell and we are now hoping to expand our focus interstate and get more people on board with the fight against prostate cancer with the national support of the PCFA."
Guest speaker and A Current Affair executive producer Grant Williams, who underwent prostate cancer surgery five weeks ago, encouraged men to visit their local doctor and at least have a prostate cancer test.
"If I hadn't had a PSA, I would have been sent off not knowing I had cancer," he said.
Research indicates about 300 men die in Australia each year from prostate cancer which accounts for about 30% of cancers diagnosed each year in Australian men and it is the second most common cause of cancer death after lung cancer.