MUSICAL RAFFLE: Alan and Jenny Tunks, of Ballina, with Ramada Hotel and Suites general manager Karen Whiteford (centre) and the Gibson guitars being raffled in support of cystic fibrosis research.
MUSICAL RAFFLE: Alan and Jenny Tunks, of Ballina, with Ramada Hotel and Suites general manager Karen Whiteford (centre) and the Gibson guitars being raffled in support of cystic fibrosis research. Graham Broadhead

Strumming up support at Bluesfest to cure cystic fibrosis

IN 18 YEARS, Ballina's Alan and Jenny Tunks have raised a whopping $312,000 with guitars.

They don't play them - they raffle them at Bluesfest, with the proceeds targeted to find a cure for cystic fibrosis.

The couple recently received three Gibson Les Paul tribute guitars for this year's raffle.

They were inspired to raise money for cystic fibrosis research as their son has the genetic condition that affects the lungs, digestive system and sweat glands.

"It is the most common life-threatening recessive genetic condition affecting Australian children," Mr Tunks said.

"One in 25 Australians is a carrier of the gene and there are about 4000 sufferers in Australia."

He said the current life expectancy for cystic fibrosis sufferers was about 36 years, which was an improvement from the 1970s, where those with the condition were only expected to live for seven years.

Mr Tunks said research received little government funding, so it relied heavily on community fundraising, like the guitar raffle.

While tickets will be sold at Byron Bay's Bluesfest held over the Easter long weekend and drawn on Easter Monday, Byron and Ballina residents can support the fundraising by buying raffle tickets locally.

The launch of this year's raffle will take place from 5-8pm this Friday 28 and Saturday 29 March at the Byron at Byron with the guitars on display and tickets available.

Tickets will also be sold at Ballina Airport arrivals lounge on April 3 from 8am-noon and at the Ramada Hotel and Suites in Martin St, Ballina, on April 4 and 5 from 4-8pm and April 6 from 3-6pm.

Ticket sellers will be back at the Ramada on April 11 and 12 from 4-8pm and April 13 from 3-6pm.

The guitars being raffled are a 1960s Les Paul tribute guitar and two 1950s Les Paul tribute guitars.

Some of the major acts at Bluesfest generally autograph the guitars. The major acts this year include Jack Johnson, Steve Earle, John Mayer, Elvis Costello and The Doobie Brothers.


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