By Sara Walker, Community Fundraising Executive
“I wouldn’t ask a community fundraiser to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.” This was a promise I made just days into my job at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse four years ago. Those words have led me to jump out of a plane in a skydive challenge, sweat through 31 days’ alcohol-free in July, walk 28km through the National Park in a single day and, most recently, trek the stunning Larapinta trail near Alice Springs on our first ever Outback Challenge.
It was by far the most challenging of these but it was also the most rewarding. Over five days in May, 17 amazing Lifehouse supporters waded across river beds, hiked endless bush tracks, skirted along rocky escarpments with breathtaking views and slept under a galaxy of stars. Reaching the summit of Mt Sonder by sunrise, an 8km vertical climb in darkness, challenged my knees but not our team’s spirits. Together they raised an extraordinary $123,000 for Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Lasting friendships were made around the camp fire as we shared our stories, tears and laughter and remembered our wonderful patients.
The memories made on the Larapinta trail will last a lifetime. More importantly, the money raised will go towards transforming treatment and outcomes for sarcoma patients. Sarcoma affects around 700 people in NSW alone each year, and most of these are in their youth. Survival rates have not changed significantly for 20 years. These funds will go towards improving the odds for survival.
I still stand by my promise and have no doubt that a headshave will be on the cards. It’s a very special person who goes above and beyond for the ultimate gift of giving back and I am eternally grateful to our wonderful supporters. Where there is community, there is support and where there is hope, there’s Lifehouse.
Our special thanks to: Kathryn Bailey, David Benchoam, Scott Davidson, Sarah Dugan, Amanda Ferrari, Mel Gilder, Jane Grossberg, Geoff Hope, Kylie Lumis, Eamon McCurry, Jane Milross, Chris Milross, Anna Morris, Sonja Semmens, Carol Strom, Vicki Vella, Kirsty Witts.