Shake It Up supporter Kylie Christian recently held a huge local community fundraising event with a unique twist – ‘mop chops’ for her son and his friends to chop off their mullets!
Kylie, who lives with Early Onset Parkinson’s, competes in International Para Equestrian . She won the Australian Dressage Championship in Grade 4 Para and has been long listed for the Paris Paralympic games. Her passion for both dressage and her fundraising journey has been driven by having a goal and a reason to look forward to the future. We spoke to her all about how her local community came together to show their support, raise money for Parkinson’s research, and gather together for a good cause.
Hi Kylie, tell us all about your Mop Chop fundraising event! How did it come about?
My ‘Mop Chop’ Fundraiser came about in a bit of a cheeky way to start with. I have 3 children and my youngest, Hilton, is following the latest trend (well they think it is, I say it’s way gone) of growing the worst mullet you could imagine. My beautiful handsome little man was looking scruffy! No matter how much I offered to pay him he would not cut it off.
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson’s. I have never asked for help. I try not to let it stop me from achieving anything, try not to complain and definitely have never used it to my advantage. Until now. I wondered… maybe he would chop it off for charity? A charity that would help me and therefore also him in the long run. I knew he wouldn’t say no to this. So I asked if he would chop off his Mullet for Mummy. Of course he said yes!
What was involved in organising the fundraising initiative?
Firstly it started out as just Hilton. Then I mentioned it to some of our friends and they happily put forward their kids to join in. So then there were three boys doing it for charity. But I quickly realised, apart from my beautiful family and friends making their very generous donations, there was not a lot of movement on the amount. It had stalled. I needed to hold an event to raise the funds, and I knew I had to do the ‘Chops’ somewhere there would be a lot of people and we’d need to add in something extra that will bring in the cash.
I was watching one of Hilton’s football matches one day and it hit me – let’s do it at the footy! We are proud members of the Hurstbridge Football Netball Club and I know they would get behind this. We could open it up to anyone to have a Mop Chop. There were so many mullets running around Hurstbridge! So I approached our club. We set a date and we got to work. 1st July 2023 at Half time of the Senior 1sts game it was.
How did the community around you get involved?
It wasn’t until I started organising this day that I had realised how amazing this club actually was.
I could not have asked for any more support. From the President, Taylor ‘Baz” Hopkins, to our Netball manager, Sue “The Queen” Simpson, and every single player, parent and supporter of the Club.
For example, I had mentioned the possibility of having some merch made. I just thought this would be something cool and different to do. Maybe some socks with Shake it Up that the players could wear on the day of the Chop and possibly the netballers the night before. Baz ran with this idea. He designed, ordered and the club covered the cost of these, all off his own back. He had ordered 100 pairs. When they arrived, I was unaware that he had already spoken with all the football players and all the netballers and not 1 pair of socks were left to sell on our Fundraising day! To see all the boys from all 3 Senior sides, and all the 6 netball teams in the stadium filled with orange everywhere, and all for my cause, just blew me away. I’m not even sure how to explain the pride, love and happiness it made me feel.
We also organised a BBQ on the day. I wasn’t sure how this would go as the club always runs an amazing canteen. But OMG. We started with bacon and egg burgers and sausages in bread during the first game in the morning and didn’t stop till the final seniors match in the afternoon at about 5pm. All I can say is there are some hungry people in Hurstbridge!
Tell us about the Mop Chops! Were they a success?
We did our first Chop at half time of the Seniors game out in the middle of the oval. I seriously thought it would just be the parents of the kids involved out watching but there were hundreds of people cheering the Mullets gone. Our amazing local hairdressing salon, Salon Vie and owner Bianca, who is a beautiful friend of mine, were so generous to offer their expertise and time to do the shaves. It had become such a community event. Everybody had got behind it and shared it on their socials, on posters in windows. It had a life of its own. Just standing back watching Bianca and her staff member Maddie do their thing with kid after kid after kid whilst managing to get the crowd excited was so cool.
After the seniors game we finished up the BBQ and set up for any players wanting to get the chop. Going into it I knew we had 2 takers that were game enough. One being the amazing Baz, our Pres, and the other my super cool favourite neighbour Jack. The boys sat up there, with a huge smile and laughing in theirShake It Up T-shirts. Then others, young and old, local crowd favourites, just came from nowhere and took the leap. Money was flowing into our bucket with every chop. The vibe in the room was incredible.
Then to my surprise, our netball manager Sue said to me, “I’ll do it if you can raise $1000!”. OMG. Challenge accepted. So a PA went over to get behind Sue and all of a sudden we had raised $2000 on her behalf. So she kept her word. She had her entire head shaved. You have never seen a female that looks so good with a buzz cut! She is our Queen.
What was your fundraising outcome in the end?
At the beginning I set out to raise $5000 for Shake it Up. There is still money to come in from this day but we have achieved this and more! But for me, what I gained the most personally from all of this, is the acceptance, the belief, the love, the support and that overwhelming feeling of belonging. I stood back during the night and took it all in. All these people are here in support of me. Knowing that there is an entire community of amazing, beautiful, caring human beings out there that all have my back.
That makes me feel like I can conquer anything. Even Parkinson’s.
Shake It Up supporter Kylie says that the best part of her fundraising journey was the acceptance, belief, love, support and belonging she felt from her local community who took part in it. Click To Tweet