SURPRISED: Blackwater resident Karen Bird first thought the letter confirming she'd been picked to carry the iconic Commonwealth Games baton was a joke.
SURPRISED: Blackwater resident Karen Bird first thought the letter confirming she'd been picked to carry the iconic Commonwealth Games baton was a joke.

Bird is 'pumped and excited'

WHEN Blackwater resident Karen Bird received a letter informing her she had been chosen as one of 3800 Australians who would carry the iconic Commonwealth Games baton across the country, she thought it was a joke.

The Blackwater North State School teacher of 15 years said she was sure the message was "a scam” and threw it in the bin.

"I thought, 'Oh yeah, righto.' Then I got a follow-up phone call saying I hadn't replied.”

Ms Bird said when she realised that the letter had been "real” and she was to be a baton bearer, she felt like she'd won a million dollars.

"Now that I believe them, I'm pretty pumped,” she said.

"For somebody who doesn't run - and I know I don't have to run which is great - I'm pretty excited.”

Ms Bird is a founding member of the Pink Angels - a well known and respected group who are committed to fundraising for breast cancer research and who have raised more than $100,000 over six years through the national Relay for Life event.

She said the group began when a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"And the Angels would go and do bits and pieces from car washes, waitressing, cake stalls, fashion parades, and Daffodil Day,” she said.

Ms Bird said money raised had been used to build a pergola at the Cancer Council accommodation lodge in Rockhampton.

"We wanted to leave a legacy at the Cancer Council house at Rockhampton and contribute something to their facilities,” she said.

"The pergola gets used for morning teas and is a communal area that guests and patients can use for events.

"We've been really proud of it.”

Ms Bird said the Pink Angels consisted of people who had been friends since high school, and were dedicated to their district, believing it was important to give back to a community that had been "good to us”.

"Your friends and work mates become your extended family and the kids grow up and play sport together. And we're still great friends. Everyone likes to see their community doing well,” Ms Bird said.

She said it was important to show support for your community and feel like you belong.

The letter from a fellow member of the Pink Angels nominating Ms Bird said: "She gets involved in the community, works hard, and always has a friendly smile no matter what's going on in her own life”.

Ms Bird joked that although she would not be carrying the baton until March, she was beginning to train for her 200-metre part in the 388-day, 40,000km Queen's Baton Relay.

She also hoped the presence of the relay in the small, regional town would help bolster a sense of community in the area.

"We need a sense of community again in town. I think it will bring us together with the celebrations of the baton coming through,” she said.

The baton will travel through rural and remote Queensland before reaching the Opening Ceremony on the Gold Coast on April 4 next year.


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