Quinns Rocks resident’s golfathon will be no stroll in the park

Andrew Macri and Josh Catalano. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d473962
Andrew Macri and Josh Catalano. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d473962

AS Andrew Macri prepares for a gruelling two-day golf fundraiser, he knows his challenge pales in comparison to those facing many Perth children.

There will be no strolling between holes for the Quinns Rocks resident during the Golfathon event on October 9 and 10 at Wembley Golf Course, where he aims to play more than 215 holes over 24 hours to raise money for Telethon.

He has collected more than $80,000 for the charity since starting the event in 2010, inspired by his daughter Bella.

The then five-year-old suffered bleeding on the brain after hitting her head on a waterslide during a family trip to Bali seven years ago.

She was flown to Perth via CareFlight, with doctors from Joondalup Health Campus on board, then spent two weeks at Princess Margaret Hospital before recovering at home over the next six months while the bleeding subsided.

Mr Macri said the family received $100,000 worth of care, as well as support from Ronald McDonald House and home schooling for Bella via the hospital.

“I needed to do something to pay back that $100,000, so I invented the Golfathon,” he said. “It just makes you feel like you’ve given something back because they’ve given us so much.”

Nollamara resident and chef Josh Catalano met Mr Macri when he supported him during a 24-hour cycling challenge for Telethon last year, and will be his caddy for the event.

“He really looked after me and I wanted to return the favour,” he said.

The cause is also personal for Mr Catalano, whose son Lenny was born last July at 24 weeks.

Lenny recently had his final check-up and is now “really good”.

“The people involved do an amazing job,” he said.

“Children are our future and we have to help them as best we can.”

He encouraged others to get behind Mr Macri.

“For everyday people to do a challenge like this, we have to support them,” he said.

“It’s not an easy challenge, he’s going to go through some dark times.”

Mr Macri will be “absolutely stuffed” after the weekend, expecting to walk more than 100km, and said it usually took him several days to recover, but knew who to think of to keep him going.

“People like my daughter, she’ll be there cheering me on,” he said. “And people like Josh, Lauren his wife and Lenny – Lenny’s a little trooper.

“When you finish, it is a big relief, but that’s when the pain starts.”

People can visit the golf course over the two days to support Mr Macri and donate in person or at bit.ly/2xQxwSN.

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