Ranji Dixit got in touch with the Surf Life Saving Foundation last year, as she was wanting to raise money to support the cause in memory of her late brother, Raj. Ranji and a number of her friends and family trained for the Melbourne Marathon, raising funds along the way for Surf Life Saving. We spoke to Ranji about her fundraising journey and her much loved brother, Raj.
The cause was very close to your heart, can you tell us your reason for fundraising?
The reason why I decided to fundraise was to create awareness of the dangers of drowning and water safety and to support our local surf lifesavers. This was done on behalf of my brother Rajath (Raj) who sadly passed away as a result of drowning back in 2019. Latest statistics show that young males sadly continue to be overrepresented in drowning deaths. Between December 2021 to February 22, 87% of coastal drowning deaths were males.
To continue Raj’s legacy, my family and I decided to gain and motivate participants for a run on behalf of my brother while raising funds for Surf Life Saving, with the help of Initiative Melbourne and Verizon Media. The significance was that a marathon was the last motivational activity Raj did before he passed. He trained very hard and was proud to finish in a good time! He couldn’t wipe the smile off his face, he was just so happy!
Tell us a little about your brother Raj, what was he like?
Raj was a young man who was a son, brother, and friend to all. He was not only high-spirited but also had a very kind heart. In his short life, Raj lived it to the fullest, there was nothing that he would shy away from, and he always had the dedication to learn and try new things.
We at Surf Life Saving were incredibly moved by your motivation to fundraise and bringing awareness to water safety. What would you say to someone thinking about Fundraising to honour a loved one?
I would highly recommend fundraising to honour a loved one. Personally, for me, it really helped to cope with the grieving process. I also really wanted to help educate young people around the dangers of drowning to help minimise the impact of these tragedies. I endorse fundraising on behalf of a loved one as you have a good feeling about giving back to the community.
You had many struggles while fundraising; another major lockdown in Melbourne and the Marathon was eventually cancelled. How did you stay motivated?
Staying motivated was something that came quite naturally to me as the cause was very close to my heart. However, this doesn’t mean it came easy. During this period, we did go through some struggles, with the Marathon eventually being cancelled due to the COVID restrictions in Melbourne that were put into place at that time.
But this was not going to stop us!
With the immense support from my colleagues at Initiative, Verizon Media, and my close industry connections, we were able to stay motivated and moved the run to be a virtual run to be completed during a span of two weeks around participants’ local area. Once our participants had completed the run they would post on their social media (Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn) with the hashtags #Run4Raj #SLSA #SurfLifeSavingAustralia, to create buzz and social awareness around the event. During this time, our donations had also increased on our page through the power of word of mouth and had owned social media feeds where people were quite happy to get involved and support us for such a great cause.
With all the amazing work my team and I were doing, it was hard not to keep motivated!