Disney premiere to double as fundraiser for Sam Carroll
IT's not often that the Saraton Theatre hosts an exclusive screening of a film, providing audiences with just the one opportunity to see a new film on the big screen.
That however will be the case this Thursday when the cinema screens Disney's family friendly The Finest Hours.
While the limited screening in itself is not ground-breaking news, there's a much more important reason to make an effort to get there besides grabbing the only chance to see it on the big screen in Grafton.
The premiere will double as a fundraiser for Sam Carroll and the Underdogs, the Relay for Life team with the newly appointed St Joseph's South Grafton school captain at its centre.
Sam, 11, was diagnosed with a rare cancer in his temple bone in May 2014 and after undergoing a gruelling schedule of treatments he has emerged with his unshakeable smile planted firmly on his face.
Sam's mum Angela said the "appropriately named" Underdogs came from Sam who said "it just popped into my head" when he was first diagnosed.
"When Sam got sick we needed to way to keep in touch with family and friends so we created a private Facebook page to inform them about his progress and that's what we called it," Angela said.
"Now anything to do with Sam and his supporters goes under that title, like our Relay for Life team, which is why we are having this pre-event fundraiser."
The Cancer Council's Relay for Life will be held at South Grafton's Jabour Park on March 19 and Sam Carroll and the Underdogs already have a team of 20 set to participate on the day.
"We are hoping to get 25 to 30 team members which will help us reach our target," Angela said.
"We are really happy to put a team in as it's a chance for us to give back at a local level because we were helped at local level too.
"The Clarence community has been a great source of strength for our family over the past two years and we feel privileged to have had its support."
The Underdogs team is off to to good start with a $500 donation from local business and family friends, CHS Training, and Sam's school will be hosting a mufti day.
"We also have 2Be Nourished sponsoring us by offering to match every $15 team member registration we get," Angela said.
Proceeds from the film night will also be added to the total with all profits from tickets sales going directly to the team.
"The tickets are the same price as normal movie nights but you just have to buy them at our special table which will be set up in the foyer," Angela said.
Sam and his mum will be heading back down to Sydney in early March for his regular PET scan and MIR as part of his ongoing monitoring.
"So far there has been no uptake in the tumour," Angela said, "but the check-ups will be ongoing for the next five years."
And while Sam will be back and forward to Sydney in between school and captaining duties, he is looking forward to his fundraising events at home.
"It's a good way to give something back to the (Clarence) community because they helped me and my family," he said.
The Finest Hours
This is the true story of heroism in the face of impossible odds. Set in 1952, a massive storm splits the SS Pendleton in two, trapping more than 30 sailors inside the tanker's sinking stern. Engineer Ray Sybert bravely takes charge to organise a strategy for his fellow survivors. As word of the disaster reaches the Coast Guard Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff orders a daring rescue mission. Stars Chris Pine.