Tracey-Lee Memorial Race Day gives dad a lift
TRACEY-Lee Schuhmacher may be gone but she definitely won't be forgotten.
A race day in honour of the young woman who captured the heart of Grafton will be held at the Clarence River Jockey Club today, with all money raised at the gates going to charity.
The event comes less than a week after the 23-year-old, who died after a life-long battle with Cystic Fibrosis, was farewelled by friends and family at a funeral in Grafton.
Clarence River Jockey Club CEO Michael Beattie said the idea for the day stemmed from a conversion he had with her close friend and well-known NRL figure Frank Barrett, who suggested it would be nice to name a race in her honour.
"It really grew from one race to making the whole day about her," Mr Beattie said.
"Once we leant our minds to it, it just seemed the way to go. She is one of those personalities that shouldn't be forgotten."
Tracey-Lee worked at the jockey club and Mr Beattie said he remembered her as a vibrant, young woman.
"I have fond memories of a day she came out to the office to tell me about how we had a mutual friend in Frank, she was so excited," he said.
"She was really good at what she did for us and really put her heart into it."
Race eight on the nine-race program, the Tracey-Lee Schuhmacher Memorial Benchmark 65 Handicap, will run at 5.21pm.
Punters are asked to dress in purple and yellow on the day and donations given at the gates will go to either the Tracey-Lee Foundation or the Cystic Fibrosis (65 Roses) Federation.
"Because it is such a late finish, people will still have time to get out and watch the memorial race even if they have to work," Mr Beattie said.
After the feature event, Tracey-Lee's family and friends will be invited for a photo with the winner of the race.
Tracey-Lee's dad Graeme Schuhmacher said it was uplifting to know his daughter's memory was so honoured by the community.
"She liked going to the races, she was a little social butterfly in that way," he said.
"It was a chance to get dressed up and take the boyfriend out with her."
Mr Schuchmacher said he hoped it would be a successful day that would help to raise vital funds for research into the disease his daughter fought her entire life.
"You don't like to see this disease do what it does; fair dinkum I wish there was no such thing," he said.
"People don't realise the devastation it puts a family through."