Rheumatoid arthritis research has been the preferred charity of the Ulysses Club since 1997 when founding member the late Stephen Dearnley OAM proposed the initiative. The impetus for the funding support was the sad death a year earlier of Stephen’s wife Jo who had lost a 20 year battle with the insidious disease.
The club has generously and proudly sponsored many scientific researchers over the last 17 years with strong support of the 137 plus branches. A few years ago the club took complete control of the funds by setting up a separate account known as UCARF (Ulysses Club Arthritis Research Fund). With this latter arrangement the club can now fulfil its ideal of ensuring that 100% of donations are directed to the scientific researchers in the form of sponsorships. We are currently supporting a post graduate sponsorship at the Institute of Bone and Joint Research (IBJR) at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney and another at Monash University in Melbourne.
The present UCARF Coordinator is Kim Kennerson. The decision to choose award recipients is based on the previous year total donations to UCARF from Branch fundraising activities.
The awards are presented to the winning Branches during the Civic Welcome Ceremony, which is held immediately after the conclusion of the Grand Parade on Saturday morning. Both awards are presented by the Club’s UCARF Coordinator, with support from fund recipients engaged in arthritis research. The two awards presented are the Jo Dearnley Memorial Award and the Good Joint Award.
The Jo Dearnley Memorial Award was introduced as a perpetual shield to be awarded to the Branch which donates the most money to the Club’s preferred charity (UCARF) during the previous calendar year.
The Good Joint Award is also a perpetual shield that was introduced to recognise the generosity of smaller branches that due to their size are unable to compete in raising funds with larger branches. The winner of this award may be either a single small branch or a cluster of small branches that raises an impressive comparative amount of funds during the previous calendar year.