27 June 2007
On May 2, 477 of Dubbo’s senior citizens formed a conga line and danced through a local park. Apart from the fun of it, they did this for 3 reasons: to celebrate the 18th birthday of Garvan’s Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study, to publicise a very generous donation from Amgen ($240 000) and to try and get into the Guinness Book of World Records for creating the world's longest Conga line of 'grannies'*.
The Dubbo study has contributed major changes to our understanding of osteoporosis in women and men, including risk of fracture, impact on quality of life, and even survival. This critical study requires financial support, and donations from private benefactors and companies including Amgen, Merck, Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis and Servier have been critical for its continuation.
In addition to presenting the study with a cheque for $240 000 Amgen paid for and co-ordinated the morning tea that went hand-in-hand, or arm-around-waist with the conga line. This involved organising two marquees, 600 chairs and vast quantities of coffee milk and sugar. An army of volunteers from local organisations (National Trust, Royal Flying Doctor Service and Quota Club) were enlisted to bake biscuits and cakes.
The local involvement and support in Dubbo is one of the factors that makes this study unique worldwide.
* Unfortunately, as many of the 'grannies' (both grandmas and grandpas) participating in the record attempt did not have birth certificates or ID to certify their age, the attempt was deemed to be unofficial.