Where are they now – Jim Waight (SPC 1985-90)
December 7, 2020
Old Collegian Jim Waight (SPC 1985-90) is fighting cancer on two wheels by entering a team in the 2021 Murray to Moyne Bike Ride to raise funds for cancer research. Jim was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer in 2019 and after enduring cancer treatment, he is now in remission. The “Jimmy’s Licorice Allsorts” cycling team is made up of numerous Old Boys and they have been training hard for the ride early next year. Jim has generously shared his story with us and what he hopes to achieve. We urge our community to support Jim, where you can, in his mission to fundraise for cancer research.
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?
When I left school, I studied a Bachelor of Teaching at Australian Catholic University. After graduating I taught in primary schools in Tasmania, Mansfield and Melbourne. We then headed back to the country where I enjoyed two principalships at Rushworth and Pyramid Hill. Following these appointments, I have been a curriculum advisor at both the Catholic Education Offices, in the Dioceses of Sandhurst and Ballarat. During this time, I completed further studies gaining a Masters in Education and most recently, qualifications in Spiritual Leadership.
Most importantly I married Victoria in 2002, we have three amazing children, Charlotte (17), Tilly (15) and Harry (12). We are currently living in Ballarat, and once again enjoying, the lifestyle and all it has to offer!
Do you have family ties with SPC?
Yes, three of my brothers attended SPC – Brian (SPC 1964, PY1969), Chris (SPC 1975-78, PY1980) and Damian (SPC 1989-94). My son Harry is starting in Year Seven, in 2021.
Please tell us the reasons behind your entry in the Murray to Moyne Ride next year?
In November 2019, I was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Follicular Lymphoma (a form of blood cancer). I had six cycles of chemotherapy and am currently having maintenance therapy which is for two years. In June of 2020, I found out that the disease is in remission.
This led me to reflect upon how lucky I am, and consequently I wanted to do something practical to assist in defeating cancer. Therefore I decided to raise funds for research – supporting The Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute based in Ballarat, in fact the only regionally based cancer research institute in Australia. I was already doing a bit of cycling so I invited a few friends to join me and we formed “The Jimmy’s Licorice Allsorts Cycling Team”.
Our goal is to raise at least $20,000 for cancer research.
Our reasons for entry in The Murray to Moyne are two fold: To raise awareness and funds for cancer research – particularly the exceptional work of The Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute.
What is the story behind your team name (Jimmy’s Licorice Allsorts)?
There are several layers to our name that speak deeply about a cancer journey. Firstly it tells a bit about our team – literally. We’re different men with different ages, experiences and life stories that have come together for a united cause. A bag of allsorts so to speak.
The title is also a metaphor or points to cancer itself. ‘Allsorts” means anyone can be touched by cancer. Cancer is indiscriminate to ‘all sorts” of people. Cancer can wreak havoc in all sorts of ways in people’s lives. The name, therefore, is a tribute to all cancer patients and survivors. The image of a “licorice allsort” is that it has a lot of black. This might be a symbol for the tough road a cancer patient is on. A licorice allsort, however, is not all black – there is colour and lots of it and once you indulge there is also a sweetness. This leads to the reflection that through the support of family and friends cancer patients can experience hope and inspiration. Just like in a licorice allsort there is a lot of colour. A cancer journey also has hope. Allsorts also paints the picture that everyone can make a difference. Everyone, whoever they are, wherever they are, can contribute to a person’s cancer journey by being there for them and supporting them.
Who else is involved in your team?
Our team is made up of 12 riders, including myself, Mark Verberne (SPC 1991-96), John Carr, Jamey Coles, Jed Manley (SPC 1994-99), Isaac Manley (SPC 1996-2001), Scott Petrie (SPC 1994-99), Matthew Sheehan (SPC 1988-93), Travis Hoyle, Stuart Birkin, Damian Larkin and Aaron Brennon. My team manager is my brother Damian Waight (SPC 1989-94).
What is required to successfully complete the ride? Tell us about your training? Has this been affected by COVID-19?
The ride is 520km, this is completed in a relay over two days. The Murray to Moyne Cycling event, commences from three towns along the Murray River – Mildura, Swan Hill and Echuca and all three routes make their way to Port Fairy finishing at the Moyne River. Our ride will begin in Swan Hill, early on Saturday morning, March 27 and will finish at lunchtime on Sunday, March 28 in Port Fairy.
Our training is coming along nicely, we aim for around 250km per week, with a mixture of hills, endurance rides and quick hot laps of Lake Wendouree! Over the coming months training will become more consistent as the weather improves.
Training has not been affected by COVID 19 – as when the restrictions were stricter we hadn’t begun training in earnest! If the event does not proceed due to COVID, we will have a suitable “replacement ride”.
What are your goals for this experience?
Our team has a goal of raising over $20,000 for the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute and for raising awareness of the magnificent work of The Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute.
Another of our important goals is to enjoy the camaraderie during the training, preparation and event itself as we work together to make a difference to the work of cancer research – to seriously enjoy the whole experience!
What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
Belonging, to an important cause, something bigger than yourself. For an adolescent boy, the “cause” may change from time to time but there was always the sense of we’re in this together no matter what. It may have been playing hockey, raising the roof on the Civic Hall as part of the massed choir at Speech Night, supporting the 1st XVIII, raising money for The Edmund Rice Camps on the Walkathon – anything really, you just knew you belonged.
My fondest actual memory/event was the 1990 Head of the Lake, after so many years, we won. Going for a dip in the lake after the race in full school uniform was also pretty memorable – I don’t think my uniform was ever quite the same after that!
Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
There are three teachers that I have great admiration for. Frank Rice, Peter Gutteridge and Sr Anne Forbes. Each in their own way taught me about deep respect and the dignity and worth of the human person. There is probably not a day in my life that I don’t try to live this out. Some days more successfully than others may I add!
How has your education shaped your professional life?
As I reflect, I think the greatest asset I gained for my professional life from my time at SPC was that understanding of ‘sense of belonging” I spoke about above. No matter who it is each person brings something to the team (work place) – sometimes it is the leader’s job to find this quality and let the person realise what they are capable of – just like so many teachers and coaches did for me when I was at St Pat’s. That each person on the team is intrinsically valued and belongs. I suppose it could be summarized as helping others to realise their potential and to be the best person they can be. No small order!!
How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?
Something I learned at home and was also a part of the culture and a hallmark of my education at St Pat’s was to always look out for others especially the underdog and to give them a fair go. Not to just worry about yourself or your own concerns but look out for others especially the most vulnerable.
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
Everything isn’t perfect and that’s totally ok. Sometimes things don’t work out as we imagined, – persist, be tenacious and never lose belief in yourself or in hope.
Lastly, how can the SPC community support you and Jimmy’s Licorice Allsorts team in the 2021 Murray to Moyne Ride?
I am so grateful for the support that has already been shown to me this last year by many Old Boys. Our team, The Jimmy’s Licorice Allsorts has incredible support from so many in the Old Boys community, see our sponsors at http://jimmysallsorts.com.au; https://www.facebook.com/jimmysallsorts and https://www.instagram.com/jimmysallsorts/
This support has been instrumental in getting the team this far. I would invite members of the SPC community to read the website (http://jimmysallsorts.com.au) and people may be inspired to support this great adventure of fighting cancer on two wheels in any way that is suitable for them.