Kokoda Trek | Doing it For My Mates

Dr June Canavan was a much-loved sports physician and family doctor living and working on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. Dr June was one of 13 people who lost their lives on August 11 2009 on their way to Papua New Guinea's Kokoda track. June was my Doctor, my mentor, and my much loved and cherished friend.

June left us part way through her fundraising project called “Klocking up the K’s”. Her plan was to walk/climb up five peaks starting with the letter K during 2009. Her aim was to raise $50,000 for the School of St Judes in Tanzania. The Kokoda Track was going to be the fourth “K” in the project. Earlier in the year she had climbed Kiel Mountain, Mount Kosciuszko and Mount Kinabulu in Borneo. After walking the Kokoda Track in August, she had planned to finish off the project by climbing the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro before delivering her $50,000 to the School of St Jude’s in nearby Arusha, Tanzania.

Over two thirds of Tanzania’s children are not in secondary school and cannot access skilled employment. The government school system is overstretched, under-resourced, and produces poor educational outcomes for Tanzanian society.

St Jude’s provides a free, high-quality education to 1,800 children who due to poverty and social pressures would otherwise be unlikely to complete their schooling. Drawn from families who live below the poverty line, the pupils of St Jude’s are shining examples of what students can achieve when they are given the opportunity to receive a quality education. Education lifts people out of poverty and creates stable and growing economies. St Jude's graduates, supported by the school, are also teaching over 10,000 government school students each year.

The June Canavan Foundation was established in 2010 with its vision to build on June’s humanitarian work and provides financial support to projects in four areas that were close to June’s heart: sport, health, education and conservation.

Susie Jukes was one of my best mates who tragically suicided on 8 December 2016. Jukesy spent a considerable amount of her time volunteering and fundraising for “doing it in a dress”. This is a fundraising organisation that also puts children through education with their focus on getting girls through high school in Sierra Leone and Uganda.

To deal with the grief in losing Jukesy, I walked and it was on one of my walks that it came to me how I can honour two great mates.

So what is the common thread between these two women? Well firstly I loved them and they both equally gave me a kick up the backside when I needed it! And secondly their passion for young women in under privileged countries in Africa to access education. Through this shared passion whether in a big or small way they both tried to make the world a little bit better and a little bit fairer.

Without an education a girl can remain stuck in the cycle of poverty and struggle to earn an income or look after herself and her family. A girl’s income increases by between 10-25% for every year she stays in schools. She’ll get married later and have a smaller, healthier family when she’s ready. Her health, economic status and future family all benefit.

My Goal
I am completing Kokoda in June’s memory to finish what she started, and I want to honour Susie’s memory by raising $3,000 to put 10 girls into High School in Africa.

Why now?
It is the 10th anniversary of Dr June’s passing.

Why 10 girls?
10 girls is symbolic to the 10th year anniversary of June’s passing.

How can you help?
You can help me by making a donation of between $.10 cents and $9.60
Why $.10 cents? I would like everyone if they wish to have an opportunity in supporting this cause regardless of personal budget constraints and it’s the 10 year anniversary of June’s passing.
Why $9.60? The Kokoda trek is 96 kilometres long.

Where will the money go?
The money raised will be donated to the Doing it in a Dress Campaign. If I am honoured to exceed my target of $3,000 the remaining money will be donated to the School of St Judes, where the story all began.

The lasting legacy from my journey
“Change the things you cannot accept”

I lost Jukesy to mental illness and Dr June treated and supported patients for years who suffered from mental illness.

If would mean a lot to me that if you can share my story you do so by firstly asking the person “Are you OK, because it is OK not to be”. I will never know that if I asked Jukesy that question just one more time, today things may have been so different.

… So that’s my story as to why I am doing the Kokoda trek for my mates … Thank you for listening to and sharing my story and of course my heart felt thank you if you were able to donate some money to the cause.

Everyone leaves footprints in your memory, but the ones that leave footprints in your heart are the ones you will truly remember and that is why I am about to put myself through hell!

  • Hollie Hromow  
    • $100 
    • 26 mos
  • Catherine Rule 
    • $50 
    • 27 mos
  • Mary Rule 
    • $50 
    • 27 mos
  • Johanna English 
    • $300 
    • 27 mos
  • Jennifer Garden 
    • $43 
    • 28 mos
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Katie Kelly 
Battery Point TAS
One Girl Australia 
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