Andrew Heathcote Rich Lists editor

Andrew is BRW's Rich lists editor and is responsible for the Rich 200 and Young Rich flagship issues. He also reports on matters relating to wealth and investment for BRW and The Australian Financial Review.

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Star man: Mark Harbottle seeks to go where no Young Rich list member has gone before

Published 27 September 2013 11:47, Updated 26 November 2013 12:10

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Star man: Mark Harbottle seeks to go where no Young Rich list member has gone before

Lost in space? Not quite, but Mark Harbottle is in the running for a space flight. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui

BRW Young Rich list member and founder of a series of successful online businesses including 99designs and SitePoint, Mark Harbottle is gearing up for what he hopes will be an experience of a lifetime – a trip to space.

Harbottle is among those to have bought a ticket in the Mission Massimo raffle, which is offering up a $US100,000 space flight aboard space craft SXC Lynx Mark II.

“I’m not one of these Star Trek junkies who constantly thinks about going to space,” Harbottle says. “But if I actually win, it’s going to be pretty freaky.”

Harbottle has one of the 250 tickets. They sell for $1000 each and are available to people who raise at least $2000 for Mission Massimo in organised fun runs and similar events.

The odds of winning made the $1000 ticket price seem like a good deal, Harbottle says. “And I felt for the family,” he says. “I have kids, so it was close to home and I wanted to help in some small way.”

Massimo is a five-year-old boy who has a rare condition called leukodystrophy, which affects the central nervous system. His father, Stephen Damiani, began selling tickets about three weeks ago to help fund more studies into the condition in the hope of creating better clinical treatments.

Fifty per cent of leukodystrophies are undiagnosed, which makes research into therapies difficult. Damiani wants to help reduce the number of undiagnosed leukodystrophies to fewer than 10 per cent within the next five years.

“Tickets sales have been extremely strong and we are hopeful of selling out in the not too distant future,” Damiani says.

Flights on the SXC Lynx Mark II are due to start in 2014 and will depart from the Mojave Desert in the US. They take about an hour and involve ascending to 103 kilometres.

“I’ve told a couple of close friends and family about it and it’s definitely a conversation starter,” Harbottle says.

“I really do hope they sell all the tickets, if they haven’t already, and raise the money they need.”

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