A star-studded lineup has sold out tables at a Wollongong hotel, to shine a spotlight on men’s wellbeing.

The VIP Men’s Physical and Mental Health luncheon has been held for the first time this week (9 August 2023), bringing together esteemed sporting icons, world champions and renowned professionals.

Co-event organiser Dave ‘Macca’ McFarland has highlighted the significance of holding these sorts of events, as local men typically avoid conversations around their health.

“We’re doing it a little bit differently,” Mr McFarland said.

“We’ve created something around sporting icons and some real legends of the sporting world, which then attracts men to the event.

“This then gives us the opportunity to sneak it through to [men], they really need to look after their health.”

Well-known figures, including Windang’s UFC legend Alexander Volkanovski, spoke to a capacity crowd about the importance of making mental and physical health a priority.

“A lot of people think every day is going to be [like this] in Vegas, DJ-ing with Shaquille O’Neal,” Volkanovski said.

“Sometimes you need to stay strong and be able to just deal with what’s in front of you.”

Following the success of Wednesday’s event, a second VIP luncheon for women has already been planned for February 2024.

Both the men’s and women’s events will become an annual fundraiser for the Illawarra’s ARHG Foundation, built to support and empower people living with disability.

Check out more interviews with special guests, including two-time boxing world champion Billy Dib, former Socceroos star Luke Wilkshire, and NRL great Paul McGregor:

2023 VIP Men’s Physical and Mental Health Luncheon interviews by Ashleigh Wright