Carlo Tonini and the World's Biggest Dinner
There’s nothing better than getting together and enjoying a meal with people you love. Except maybe one thing…
What if you could turn your dinner party into something that actually makes a difference to an important cause? That’s the idea behind World’s Biggest Dinner, the brainchild of long-time Cure Cancer Australia supporter Carlo Tonini.
‘World’s Biggest Dinner is a fundraising initiative designed to help raise money to support early-career cancer researchers,’ explains Carlo. ‘Basically, it’s a fun way to get anyone, anywhere in the world together to enjoy great food and great company, whilst at the same time driving awareness and raising vital funds to help find a cure for cancer.’
Carlo launched the initiative in 2016, with the aim of encouraging people from as many different countries in the world to host a dinner on the same day and raise money for Cure Cancer Australia. In its inaugural year, the event raised close to $75,000 – a truly incredible feat.
‘The idea of a World’s Biggest Dinner might sound ambitious, but it’s actually really easy to get involved,’ says Carlo. ‘All you have to do is register, then invite your friends and family over for a bite to eat, and ask them to make a donation for the amount they would normally spend on a meal at a restaurant. We’ve set the date this year for Saturday 4th November, so it would be great if we could get as many people as possible to stick to that. But you can host a dinner on a different date if you’d prefer – all that really matters is that you’re raising money for cancer research.’
Not big on cooking? Not a problem! Although the event is called World’s Biggest Dinner, you can host whatever kind of get together you like – be it a barbecue, cocktails and canapés, or a picnic in the park. Whatever you choose, and wherever you are, we'll all be dining together in the fight to end cancer.
Never afraid to shy away from a challenge, Carlo started his fundraising mission for Cure Cancer Australia back in 2010 after he was challenged by a close friend to run a marathon.
‘A good mate of mine nearly laughed me out of the park when I first mentioned running a marathon…and that didn’t go down too well!’ laughs Carlo. ‘My motto has always been ‘if you think you can, you will’ – I entered the 2010 Gold Coast Airport Marathon the same day.’ He more than proved his friend wrong, completing his first marathon in an impressive 4hrs 13 mins. ‘Reaching that finish line was incredibly rewarding and emotional. After that first one, I was hooked!’
Carlo was so inspired by his journey that he decided to research other marathons, and soon discovered The Seven Continents Marathon Club and The Marathon Grand Slam Club.
‘To join The Seven Continents Marathon Club, you need to have completed a recognised marathon on each of the seven continents. To date, only around 180 people worldwide have managed that,’ says Carlo. ‘To get into the Grand Slam Club you need to add a marathon in the Arctic, and even less have achieved that – only 86 people so far!'
Gaining membership into The Marathon Grand Slam Club quickly became his bucket list life goal. ‘It got me thinking that if I was going to set myself this physical challenge, I should try to help someone in the process. I decided to set a financial goal of raising $250,000 with Cure Cancer Australia as my beneficiary,’ says Carlo. ‘Cancer is having a terrible impact worldwide, and like so many of us, I’ve lost people close to me to the disease. The Cure Cancer Australia mission is to work together and try to make this the last generation to die from cancer, and that’s something I feel incredibly passionate about. Just imagine a world without cancer!'
Carlo’s journey since then has been incredibly inspiring. In just seven years, he has completed the Gold Coast Marathon, New York Marathon, London Marathon, Great Wall of China Marathon, Big Five Marathon and the Inca Trail Marathon.
‘Each of those marathons have been enjoyable in their own way. If I were to choose one marathon, I’d say the New York Marathon was my favourite. It was just such an incredible atmosphere and the city is so awesome! Then again, doing the Big Five through a game park was pretty unreal, and the Inca Trail Marathon was amazing, but it’s true what they say – it’s certainly the hardest marathon in the world!.
Later this year, Carlo will be tackling The Ice Marathon in Antarctica, and in 2018 he aims to become a member of the Grand Slam Club by completing The North Pole Marathon. ‘So far, I’ve raised a total of $118,000, but my $250,000 goal really keeps me going.’
It’s clear that Carlo doesn’t do things by halves, and we are not only incredibly inspired by all of his hard work, but we are so truly grateful to him and all of those taking part in World’s Biggest Dinner for their support of Cure Cancer Australia.
Thank you. We really mean it.
Register to join the World's Biggest Dinner here.