Taking the Plunge: Fearless Fundraising for Flinders Foundation


Multiple teams from Flinders University recently took on a formidable challenge: descending 70 metres down the InterContinental Hotel to raise funds for the Flinders Foundation. This audacious abseil fundraiser, aptly named “The Plunge,” not only showcased the fearlessness of our staff but also highlighted their unwavering commitment to a greater cause.

Flinders University Biomedical Engineers and Medical Device Research Institute (MDRI) researchers Thomas Beltrame (PhD Candidate), Alicia Mitchell (PhD Candidate), Francesca Bucci (Postdoctoral Researcher), and Dr David Hobbs (Senior Lecturer) formed The Brave Biomeds in April in preparation for The Plunge.

Thomas and David (Thomas’ PhD supervisor) learnt about the challenge while celebrating their shared grant success at a Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant award ceremony. Alicia (initially afraid of heights) and Francesca (who realised a little too late what she’d really signed up for) saw it as a chance to confront their fears while supporting the Flinders Foundation. For David, who is the Chief Investigator on the Flinders Foundation grant, this was an opportunity to give back.

“Abseiling looks like lots of fun and if I can help raise much-needed funds for health and medical research at the same time to help those who need it most, that’s a very good thing!” David said.

During their descent, the team sported bright yellow “Fearless” Flinders shirts, serving as a reminder to be fearless when facing this daunting challenge. Alicia noted that they were proud to display their affiliation with Flinders University, while David emphasised the importance of the shirts as a symbol of courage.

The 70-metre descent brought its share of challenges. For Alicia, the initial moments were the toughest due to her fear of heights. David found the experience scarier than expected but remained focused on moving forward, driven by the idea that his discomfort paled in comparison to those battling health conditions. Francesca’s most memorable moment was the heart-pounding first step off the edge, which reminded her of the courage needed to overcome fears.

“I hope our adventure serves as a reminder to extend a helping hand to those facing health challenges, highlighting that our own fears pale in comparison to their daily battles…. this experience has reinforced the idea that conquering our fears becomes achievable when we unite for a greater purpose.” she shared.

Thomas reflected that his PhD project was made possible by the Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant, and is optimistic that this event, and future fundraising efforts, will go a long way towards making critical and life-changing discoveries across the sector.

The impact of “The Plunge” fundraiser has been significant. The Brave Biomeds team is nearing their $3,400 goal. The event is set to raise over $250,000 for the four participating charities, with $80,000 already allocated to the Flinders Foundation, supporting vital health and medical research.

These funds empower researchers to make a real difference in healthcare. The team hopes their actions will inspire others to embrace challenges and work towards better health and medical science. The legacy of “The Plunge” will undoubtedly inspire others to face their fears, overcome obstacles, and contribute to a brighter, healthier future.

It’s not too late to donate! Support the cause before September 11:

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