Mother’s treat with High Tea for Huntington’s

Mother’s treat with High Tea for Huntington’s

This Mother’s Day you could be on a winner for life by treating (you and) your mum to a fabulous fundraising high tea.

Located in the beautiful upstairs ballroom room of Hotel Canobolas, the High Tea 4 HD will be a chance to sip bubbles and/or tea, try delicious finger food, enjoy pretty tiered cake stands and time together – all in a sea of pink and gold table settings.

The founder of HD Awareness Orange & Central West Rachael Brooking – a career event manager and mum of three, is hosting the event on behalf of Huntingtons NSW ACT and promises lots of WOW factor and terrific raffle prizes including a two-night holiday package at Lakeview Luxury Retreat (Orange) plus a chat with world-wide author and Collins Booksellers Orange owner Kelly Rimmer about her book Me Without You.

Proceeds from the High Tea will go to Huntingtons NSW ACT and will be used to support of families struck with Huntington’s Disease in the Central West and further across the state and territory.  Tickets for the high tea are available from Central West Mums’ website link and the link on the HD Awareness FB page – plus, on the back of last year’s success Rachael has extended the numbers to 130 seats and are selling fast.

Rachael created her not-for-profit HD Awareness Orange & Central West 5 years ago. “Prior to this for five years I was raising awareness and funds through Huntington’s NSW ACT – who work directly with families, and helping them with support through NDIS, counselling and service providers. However, I soon realised that getting sponsorship and support for the events I wanted to hold in Orange to create more awareness and education in our region was a lot harder, because no-one had heard of it here, and businesses wanted the money to stay local, even though fundraisers for many similiar disorders don’t have this issue, they have the awareness so it isn’t an issue.”

Huntington’s is something that has been hidden away for a long time, due the wide range of symptoms it presents. This is due to dominant mutations on chromosome 4, causing brain degeneration that can look like many things- obsessive-compulsive behaviour, psychosis, loss of memory and reasoning skills, stumbling, and depression, dementia just to name a few, meaning that many people can’t associate with it even though there are similar numbers of people with Motor Neurone Disease across Australia. Clinicians liken HD to having Motor Neuron’s, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Cognitive Mental health decline SIMULTANEOUSLY.  And with each child of an affected parent having a 50% chance of inheriting the gene, the gravity is huge.

“I found it very difficult to get any agency out here but I wanted to create these community events and awareness because if we don’t have awareness, we don’t seek support from all angles,” Rachael explained. “So, while remaining a community partner with NSW and ACT I created HD Awareness Orange Inc to help do that so that the money stays local and means I could do events and marketing campaigns for education and awareness in the Central West.”

Rachael’s drive to do something comes from a very personal place at the end of the day, she is a survivor because her test for Huntington’s was negative, but for thousands around the world and for her mother, brother, 2 aunties, 1 uncle, and cousins so far, sadly was positive.

“Survivor guilt is an interesting real thing, and there is quite a lot of it in Huntington’s. When you’ve lived through something as traumatic as this and see it happening to up to half of your family, you would do anything to have been the positive one to take it away from your loved one.”

Rachael’s passion to raise education and awareness in our area comes with the hope that when things change and there’s opportunities for change that more people will understand Huntington’s and the many families living with it in the Central West will feel thoroughly supported. Change is already on the way with the amalgamation of all but one state in Australia, and as of the 1st July 2023 we will have Huntington’s Australia. This is a very exciting and positive step and there will be more news about this at the High Tea.

Rachael has a host of campaigns running this year and is currently busy at her Hope Shop once a fortnight in Orange Central Square Shopping Centre (near K-Mart) up-selling donated goods, so you can buy a blind date with a book, succulents in colourful teapots, fresh flowers and pretty crockery, information about HD,  a lending ear and more.

“Funds raised from Hope Shop’s sales and events will go towards our bus signage campaign in May, Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month. We’ve done the signage for the past few years on the back of the school buses in Orange, Dubbo and Bathurst for the whole month, for a cost of $3000. So, proceeds from our sales and raffles pay for that awareness.”

Rachael is never short of fun fundraising ideas it seems. Following the High Tea 4 HD she is hosting a screening of the movie Brave on 26 May for World Red Heads Day at Orange Odeon Cinemas – for redheads, a tribute to her late Mum – and the following night there’s an 80’s vibe party to raise more funds, with proceeds going to her campaigns. See her socials for tickets! Rachael also Lights up for Awareness month by wearing Pink and Green every day in May and September for Walk4Hope Month.

Many people know of Rachael’s creative events, including her attempt a few years ago at the Guinness World Record for the most redheads in one place, which was possibly a record for Australia – but alas not the world – but she remains determined and puts enormous effort into every project to makes everyone in her realm feel special.

“My mum was a redhead, I’m a redhead and I have three redheads in my family – and we live in Orange, so, you know…,” she laughs. “We do the High Teas and Walk 4 Hope each year for Huntington’s NSW ACT, and we do an amazing Christmas Concert every two years – HARK the Orange Angels sing 4 Huntington’s incorporating local musicians from the central west – to record and video it for screening at the movies. This is our off-year for the HARK Concert but we are looking at having a Christmas in July screening at the cinema, or lunch, so watch this space…”

So why not treat yourself, your mum, your daughters and your girlfriends to this worthy cause. Support Huntington’s NSW ACT High Tea 4 HD this Mother’s Day, and bring hope to many local families.

Tickets $55 per adult and $40 per child. Buy your tickets from Central West Mum website here.


Feel like spoiling your mum and unable to make Rachael’s High Tea?…

Try one of these 38 recipes from Delicious. Magazine online for the ultimate home-made High Tea and win some points with her.

  • Image Supplied: Rachael Brooking

  • High Tea 4 HD 2023 Event

  • Image Supplied: Rachael Brooking

  • Traditional afternoon tea served with scones

Diana Smith

I'm an Orange-based photographer, writer, face painter and book designer. I enjoy meeting the lovely folk of our community and have been involved in publishing/media/comms for about 15 years. I have done several exhibitions and in 2022 published my own childrens story, 'The Mouses Houses.'

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