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15 August, 2021

Racing lemons for worthy cause

THE Shitbox rally is a race from Mackay to Darwin. Racers must drive a rundown beast to great lengths in the hope of raising money for a great cause, the Cancer Council.


 Mackay Local News cadet reporter Jacob Cumner caught up with some local speed demons. Names: Shannon and  Adam Burns

  Relation to one and other?

 Husband and wife

 Occupations? 

 Fire-fighter and Border Force Officer 

Tell us a bit about the shitbox rally

We are Team Rawburns and we are participating in Shitbox Rally Spring 2021. This rally will see us driving our Shitbox (worth $1000 or less) from Mackay to Darwin with 550 other participants from across Australia. Shitbox Rally is not a race, rather a challenge to achieve the unthinkable. Travelling across Australia via some of its most formidable roads and remote communities. This year, the rally will take us from Mackay to Charters Towers, onto Chillagoe in Cairns, across to Normanton, Hells Gate and Borroloola, before makingour way to the home stretch of Mataranka and finishing in Darwin!

 This year the rally aims to raise $2m for Cancer Council, which is used to fund cancer research projects nationally. Since 2009 Box Rallies has raised over $22 million and is the largest funder for the Cancer Council in Australia. To date we have fund raised $6185 with special thanks to many friends, family and members of the community that have kindly donated to our cause. We also undertook numerous hours of paddock and lawn maintenance services for donations that helped us to get over the line. A special mention must go out to our major sponsor ICON Cancer Center. Icon centres are a combination of day oncology hospitals that deliver chemotherapy and treatment for blood disorders, radiation oncology centres and comprehensive centres that bring both day oncology and radiation therapy under one roof. 

Shannon is lucky enough to have an Icon center in Mackay and is carefully monitored by her amazing Oncologist Dr Zia Ansari. We are still on the lookout for donations and sponsorship! Currently we are on the lookout for a tyre sponsor, paint to deck out our shitbox and mechanical work. If there are any companies that would love to come on board our team and help us get over the line in Darwin, please get in contact with us through our facebook page @Teamrawburnsshitboxrallycrew.

 How many times have you entered or is this your first time? 

 This will be our first charity rally. 

How long does the race normally take? 

 Its a rally over seven days with the objective of all vehicles completing the entire journey working together as a team to get everyone over the line. 

Tell us a bit about the beast you plan to enter this year? 

She’s a 1982 Toyota Celica with purple velour seats and pop up headlights! She was donated by a local Mackay family who heard about our fundraising and wanted to help. This car survived all the kids learning to drive and has been handed down through their family, and now onto us. 

How did you hear of this event?

 We have taken an interest in charity rallies for a long time as we love to travel Australia visiting small and remote communities. When they announced the route for 2021 would be Mackay to Darwin ... we knew it was meant to be as we moved to Mackay from Darwin three years ago. Darwin holds a special place in our heart as it is where we met and got married and we have many special friends there that we miss dearly.

 Is there a reason that you love this race? 

 Everyone near and dear to us, know the battle we have fought over the last 11 years with Shannon’s cancer journey. Shannon was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2010 at just 30 years old. She underwent six months of chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumour.

 Four years later, the cancer returned in her liver and lymph nodes. Another six months of chemotherapy, major surgery for a liver resection and follow up radiation therapy. We still aren’t out of the woods yet, in fact we are anxiously awaiting results of a node located on Shannon’s lung in her last CT scan, but are in a much better place than 11 years ago.

This February marked six years without treatment for Shannon, a place that seemed so far away not that long ago and fingers crossed we continue this way! We want to give back to the cancer council and hopefully help someone else get to this point as well. If we can raise awareness, and especially awareness for bowel cancer in young people, and we can encourage even one person to go see their GP if something isn’t right, then we’ve completed our task. 

We also currently have some very close and loved friends fighting similar battles and we would love to be able do something in honour of them as well.  


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