CRBF Mother’s Day Breakfast 2024

Amidst a week of incessant rain in Sydney, the 10th of May dawned with a spectacular sunrise, setting the stage for the annual CRBF Mother’s Day Breakfast held at the prestigious Park Hyatt Sydney. Despite facing several challenges with technical issues and roadworks adjacent to the hotel, the event eventually unfolded.

The day kicked off with Mitch O’Connor from Qantumhaus and his partner Stef Moss arriving just as setup began, equipped with video cameras and cameras to capture every moment of the event. Mitch has been an integral part of CRBF for the past year, and we owe a debt of gratitude to him and Stef for their professionalism and easygoing nature. Their dedication to documenting the event ensures that every precious moment was preserved.

Despite the setbacks, the guests displayed remarkable patience and understanding throughout.  Their unwavering support and cooperative spirit were instrumental in keeping the event atmosphere positive and uplifting.

Our host, Melissa Hoyer, graced the stage with her unparalleled professionalism and excellent reputation as a TV and radio commentator. With her grounded demeanour and warm welcome, Melissa effortlessly guided the event back on course, setting the perfect tone for the occasion. Melissa’s presence is indispensable for gatherings like this, as she embodies the spirit of readiness, always willing to roll up her sleeves and dive headlong into any task to ensure the event’s success. Her dedication and versatility make her the perfect choice for any occasion.

The melodies that filled the air as our guests arrived were courtesy of the exceptional talents of Jarrad Sapsford and Dr. Marc Chami. These two remarkable young musicians have been integral to the event since its inception, adding a touch of musical magic that captivates the hearts of all who attend. Their musical prowess and dedication to enhancing the atmosphere have become synonymous with the CRBF Mother’s Day Breakfast, enriching the experience for guests year after year.  Both Jarrad and Marc share a special connection with the event, having attended Sydney Grammar with Cooper, further strengthening the bond between the performers and the cause. Their parents’ unwavering support for the function each year is a testament to the collective commitment to making a difference.

The Park Hyatt Sydney team, whose meticulous attention to detail and unwavering commitment ensured the success of the event. Special thanks are due to Christine Haddad, Aoife Burns, Sophie, and Can for their outstanding contributions behind the scenes. Their dedication and expertise were instrumental in orchestrating a memorable experience for all attendees.  The delectable catering options provided by the Park Hyatt Sydney team included assorted breakfast canapés and beverages were served with elegance and precision, delighting the taste buds of guests and adding an extra touch of sophistication to the occasion.

Additionally, we express our gratitude to Sarah Banks from Encore for her valuable assistance and support of the audio-visual elements for the event.

The ambiance of the Guest House at the Park Hyatt Sydney was transformed into a breathtaking display of elegance thanks to the generous contribution of cream roses by The Little Fresh Group and the Lynch family. The Lynch family’s steadfast support for the annual CRBF Mother’s Day Breakfast event and our appreciation for this gesture cannot be adequately articulated.

Each guest was treated to a beautiful gift bag, generously provided  by our sponsors.  The Sapphire Group, under the thoughtful leadership of Dr. Warwick Nettle and Ms. Nicole Eckels, graciously provided a Glasshouse Fragrances 380g candle, ensuring that every attendee could indulge in the exquisite scents of sophistication and elegance. Mrs. Angela Cattana, together with the Taylor family, continued their annual tradition of support by gifting each guest a 750ml bottle of Taylors Wines Sparkling Chardonnay, allowing them to raise a toast to the occasion with the finest of wines. And let’s not forget the stunning touch of nature provided by the talented Anthony Tang, Director of Mr. Flower Sydney, whose beautifully curated bouquet of roses added a touch of timeless beauty to the event. We extend our deepest gratitude to our generous sponsors for their unwavering support and contribution to making this event truly memorable.

The stage then belonged to Carly-Anne Evans and Michaela Leiske, who left the audience spellbound from the very first note. With flawless renditions of iconic pieces such as “When You Believe” from The Prince of Egypt and the ethereal “Duet du Fleurs” from Lakmé,  O’mio babbino caro – Puccini and Con te partiro – Francesco Sartori, they set the perfect tone for the morning’s proceedings, captivating hearts with their sublime vocals and emotional depth. Their mastery of the opera performed without microphones  truly left an indelible mark on all who were fortunate enough to witness their talent, ensuring that the evening would be remembered for years to come

Professor Michelle Haber AM, the highly respected  Director of the Children’s Cancer Institute of Australia, delivered a captivating keynote address that left a lasting impact on all attendees. With passion and expertise, Professor Haber illuminated the ground-breaking work of the Zero Children’s Cancer program, highlighting its tireless efforts to combat paediatric cancer and bring hope to countless families. Additionally, she shed light on the invaluable contributions of the sarcoma biobank program, a programme funded jointly by The Sutcliffe Family Sarcoma Research Fund and CRBF, emphasising its role in advancing research and treatment options for this challenging disease. Professor Haber’s insightful speech not only showcased her dedication to the cause but also inspired everyone present to join in the fight against childhood cancer.

Following a sumptuous breakfast, the focus shifted to a thought-provoking forum shining a spotlight on individuals living with a sarcoma diagnosis over 30, delving into the distinctive challenges they face. Carmen Scheffer, Anne Pantazis, and Edward Clark courageously shared their raw and unfiltered experiences with our guests. Hosted by the insightful Mitchell Rice-Brading, the forum provided a platform for candid discussions, fostering understanding and empathy among attendees. Their stories served as powerful reminders of resilience, strength, and the importance of support in navigating life with a sarcoma diagnosis, and in particular where children, partners and careers are also part of the equation. It was a truly impactful segment that left a lasting impression on those in the room.

Dr. Richard Boyle, Chair of the NSW Bone Tumour unit, took the stage to deliver an enthralling overview of the ground-breaking Sarcoma Australia Foundation of Excellence for surgical research into sarcoma. With passion and expertise, Dr. Boyle unveiled this innovative project, which promises to revolutionize sarcoma surgery in Australia. The Foundation’s vision is to establish a Sarcoma Surgical Research Centre that serves as a beacon of excellence, providing state-of-the-art education, research, and technological innovation to provide an innovative and cutting-edge approach to sarcoma surgery signifies a significant step forward in the fight against this challenging disease. Dr. Boyle’s riveting presentation left the audience inspired and hopeful for the future of sarcoma treatment and research in Australia.

As the event reached its lively conclusion, the tone was changed with  the roving microphone, and the antics of Mitch Rice-Brading. With no one safe from his engaging approach, he lifted the mood in the room by approaching unsuspecting guests, sparking laughter and camaraderie throughout. Among those caught up in the excitement were Carmen Scheffer and Kaela Bowman-Graham, both undergoing active treatment for sarcoma and coincidentally sharing birthdays just two days apart—Carmen’s falling on the day of the event and Kaela’s on the 12th of May.

In a heart-warming gesture, our talented opera singers took the stage once again, leading a stirring rendition of “Happy Birthday” to honour Carmen and Kaela, creating a truly unforgettable moment.  It was a touching reminder of the strength and resilience of these remarkable individuals, and a testament to the supportive community that surrounds them.

The raffle was drawn at 0845 with the winners notified on the Raffletix website and at the event.

1st Prize – Autore South Sea Pearl earrings with white diamond detail valued at $6500 generously donated by the Autore family

Winner:  Dr Maurice Guzman – NSW

2nd Prize  – A Mudgee luxury weekend getaway package generously provided  by Carm and Craig Robson, Thistle Hill Mudgee, the Dalton family, Robert Stein Winery and Vineyard, Olive a Twist, The Butcher Shop Café Mudgee, OzChoppers Mudgee, and Energy Healing Massage Mudgee valued at $3690

Winner –  Sally Veenboer  – Queensland

3rd Prize – Park Hyatt Sydney luxury overnight package generously donated by the Park Hyatt Sydney, Qantas, and Marquis by Waterford  valued at $2000

Winner- Cameron McLean – NSW

4th Prize  – Oroton Inez Luxury Leather goods Travel Package valued at $1078

Winner – Tracey Neaverson – NSW 

 Lucky door prize – 12 bottles of premium wines and a hair styling package generously donated by Kirsten Martensen-Arms and Laurent David Bowral. Valued at $650

Winner – Alex Pantazis – NSW 

Book buyers prize – $200 gift voucher for dinner/lunch at the iconic Macleay St Bistro, Potts Point.  Generously provided by Director, Phillip Fikkers

Winner -Naomi Chun – ACT 

We wish to thank our generous donors and sponsors .  Without your generosity this event would not be possible as all raffle prizes and gift bag contents are donated.

Autore Pearls

Taylors Wines

Glasshouse Fragrances

The Little Fresh Group

Mr Flower Sydney

The Park Hyatt Sydney

Secure Agility

Thistle Hill Mudgee

Macleay St Bistro

Kirsten Martensen-Arms

Laurent David

The Dalton family

 Robert Stein Winery and Vineyard

Olive a Twist

The Butcher Shop Café Mudgee

OzChoppers Mudgee

Energy Healing Massage Mudgee

We thank each of our guests for their patience with our technical hiccups, and for their love and support over many years, and for contributing  to the event in such a meaningful manner.

Special thanks to Carmen Scheffer for her outstanding work on the programme this year, whilst undergoing active treatment, together with Gloria Gapes, Dyan Comino and Runi Neilsen for their tireless help on the morning.

362 days until we do it all again.  We look forward to seeing you again in 2025!

Photo credits to Stef Moss from Visuals by Stef.