She might not be old enough to drive, but 9 year old Aroha White is the driving force behind the all-female team Tattoria taking on the 2019 Variety WA Bash.
Tattoo studio owner Rachel O’Shea said her team of first-time ‘Bash-ers’ were joining WA’s longest running charity motoring event on behalf of their unofficial fourth member.
“Aroha wanted her dad to take part in the Bash, but she has acute lymphoblastic leukemia as well as three siblings so her parents are a little busy with other things – so we are doing it for her,” Ms O’Shea said.
Ms O’Shea said her relationship with her “BFF” began with a call for help from Aroha’s mother Emma on Facebook.
“Aroha’s mother was looking for someone to do a henna tattoo on her daughter’s head as she had lost her hair during treatment for leukemia,” she said.
“I messaged Emma and we organised a princess day for Aroha and her sisters. That day Aroha and I became best friends and she and her family have been a part of our life since
The Variety Bash will take participants on an epic week-long adventure from Geraldton through the Gascoyne and Murchison regions, raising money and spreading joy to regional communities along the way.
Variety WA CEO Tony Hume said the Bash will cover around 4500 kilometres and pass through more than 20 regional towns.
“The Variety Bash is in its 31st year, and over that time has raised more than $33 million for WA children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs,” he said.
“The event is an absolute riot for the participants, and they can have the time of their lives knowing that they’re helping children in need at the same time.”
Although Aroha’s health will prevent her from joining the Tattoria car on the Bash, Ms O’Shea said she had a special role in the team’s preparations.
“Aroha designed our logo and also named our team,” she said.
“She definitely gets the first ride once the car is ready and hopefully she will be able to meet us at the finish line.”
Ms O’Shea said the team was hard at work on getting their car ready for the event, starting on August 24.
Mr Hume said the Bash remains the organisation’s biggest event and encouraged the public to support Tattoria and other ‘Bash-ers’ by donating.