Merriwa locals Craig and Emma Douglas are participating in this year’s Mystery Box Rally to raise money for Cancer Council and to honour those they have lost to cancer.
Craig, who is an operator at Mangoola Coal, and Emma who works at the local CRT in Merriwa, are taking on the event together for the second time. Last year they participated in the 2022 Mystery Box Rally which ran out of Port Lincoln and saw them travel a total of 2,672km over 5 days through the South Australian outback.
Their involvement in the event came about when Craig and a mate participated in the 2019 Rally in honour of one of their friends who had passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer.
“I remember other participants telling me after they learnt it was my first rally I would get the buzz, and I sure did,” said Craig.
“Emma and I decided to enter a Rally together. Unfortunately, Covid got in the way of our plans to do it in Rockhampton in 2020, though it did give us more time to prepare our car.”
The Mystery Box Rally is a smaller, shorter version of the Shitbox Rally. Teams have no idea of where they’re heading but know they are in for an adventure. Participants are required to personally fund the purchase and set up of their vehicle as well as all other costs, such as entry fees, travel and time away from work. 100% of funds collected through fundraising, sponsorship and donations go to Box Rallies to distribute to successful Cancer Council research grant applications. Over the last 13 years, Box Rallies have raised over $38 million for the Cancer Council.
For Craig and Emma, the Rally also provides a way to remember loved ones they have lost from cancer, and to honour those that have battled cancer and overcome it.
“Mystery Box Rally has been a great way to be involved and contribute,” said Emma. “To be able to raise money makes us feel like we are doing something to help.”
This year’s Rally departs and returns to Bundaberg QLD. Each morning of the five-day event sees participants given instructions and a map and then they must navigate in their buddy group to the day’s mystery location.
“You get to see some amazing places and spend time with amazing people. The unknown routes are mostly unsealed roads visiting remote outback communities. Wherever you go you are helping to raise awareness and also supporting these remote communities,” said Craig.
Craig and Emma will be driving a 1995 EF Ford Falcon which they’ve spent a lot of time and effort on to make sure it’s up to the challenge ahead. Unlike Shitbox Rally where cars at auctioned off at the end of the event, the Mystery Box Rally cars are driven to and from the event and for the duration, and they plan on using the car for more events in the future.
“We’re aiming to do this for the next 5 or 6 years and make a good effort to raise some money. It’s such a great way to be able to contribute and raise funds and awareness for Cancer Council,” said Craig.
“We have two children, Lily who is 9 and Jackson who is 8, who have loved being involved in our Mystery Box endeavor and hearing our stories when we got home, it has been a great opportunity to open the conversation of helping others with them. However, they weren’t so keen on our team name, which is ‘Escaped the Kids’,” laughs Emma.
Each team needs to raise a minimum of $4000 however Craig and Emma have set a target $6000 and are hoping with the support of the community they will reach it before the event begins on August 11.
“We are grateful for any support. Every extra dollar counts and will make a difference. There is also the opportunity for businesses to have their logo put on the car showing their support of this worthy cause.” said Craig.
|Support Craig & Emma by heading to https://2023.mysteryboxrally.com.au/escaped-the-kids You can also follow Craig and Emma’s journey on their Facebook page @escapedthekids-mysteryboxrally