In 2013 the fundraising challenge for the Valetudo Health Team is to take on the Kokoda Trail with Kokoda Spirit September 1-9. The Kokoda Trail has a reputation for being a gruelling challenge especially when you carry your own pack, which can weigh anywhere between 12-17kg’s!!! Carrying a heavy pack through mud and over some very steep terrain takes its toll after 9 days and 96km’s! Especially with no showers and a hot humid climate. The Team are up for a huge challenge for a huge cause! Legacy is a charity providing services to Australian families suffering financially and socially after the incapacitation or death of a spouse or parent, during or after their defence force service. They currently care for 100,000 widows and 1,900 children and disabled dependants throughout Australia.
The Team will endeavour to raise at least $500 each for the Legacy Foundation WA. With a potential team of 16 that means we are aiming for a minimum of $8,000 to be raised for this great cause!
You can get behind the team and donate here
The rain dance paid off! With the water pumping Shane and Dave got off to a great start! Getting right up amongst the leaders of their category on day 1, but had a few spills in the T Trees which cost them a bit of time! Good water and hard paddling, successful execution down Northam weir, Extracts weir and through Katrine bridge got them to the 52km day one finish line in a solid five hours, some three and half hours quicker than the previous year’s effort! This gave them plenty of time to get dry, stretch up, load up on food and fluids in preparation for day 2. Day 2 started at 7:30am disappearing off into the T trees, there was plenty of carnage and dodging other kayaks and skis became quite hard! They then moved on into the valley passing through about 50 rapids nailing the big ones (i.e. Super Chute, Washing Machine, Deadly Mistake, Champions, Syds & Bells) yet struggling in the trees… filling up the kayak with water on a number of frustrating occasions! Yet, still made some good time getting to the bottom of Bells Rapids in four hours (~42km). From there they had a 30km flat water paddle. They set a quick pace passing many weary paddlers and pushed themselves beyond belief. They got to Middle Swan bridge before the power boats which was a huge achievement in its self. They eventually reached the 72km day 2 finish line in just under 7 hours. All up taking 11 hours and 57 minutes to finish the 124km paddle, placing them 15th in their category and they even got to watch a few power boats come in. At the end they were physically exhausted and had very weary legs! They were just stoked to finish it and share the moment with the friends and family that came down to cheer them over the finishing line in their Team Time Machine shirts. Dave has claimed to have retired from paddling and said he is never to touch a paddle again. Shane thinks otherwise!
All up the auction plus the paddle raised a bit over 20 grand for Cancer Council WA, the campaign ranks as the 4th highest fundraiser for Cancer Council WA. Thanks for all your contributions and support!!!! Shane and Dave couldn’t have done it without you guys!!!
Also a special thanks to the sponsors ECU, MM Electrical and BGC Contracting, companies that donated items to auction, John Naughton, Sam Clohessy and of course our awesome support crew (Tony Johnstone, Loren Eaglestone, Melissa Salvia & Belinda Salvia)!
During the lead up to the event David’s father was re-diagnosed with cancer making the challenge even more personal to them. The support they received from family, friends, work colleagues and people they hadn’t even ever met before was truly touching and inspired them to put in everything they had.
They took on the Avon Descent in a double plastic ski, oblivious to what was ahead of them. The conditions were comparable to the worst ever seen, due to Perth’s poor winter rainfall. The heavy craft was lying low and lack of water turned it into more of a foot race! It was every competitor for themselves with time restrictions being of concern. They paddled hard and surprised the crew from Canoeing Down Under who lent them the craft as they were neck and neck with them. After 56km’s of ‘hard yacka’, many false promises of nearly being there, a cruel 8.5 hours later they finally made it to the finish of only day one!
The challenge didn’t stop out of the water. Dave had to get some medical assistance for his knee as he had slipped on a rock, damaging his cartilage causing it to swell up, lock up and cause some serious pain. Dave being the trooper he is, he just kept on going!
Camping in the camp grounds was one of the coldest nights of their lives. Lucky for Dave and Shane that their awesome support crew Tony and Loren had set up camp, cooked up a storm and dried the gear off as best as they could for the next day by the camp fire. Dave was out like a light due to all the pain medication, Shane wasn’t so lucky kept awake by the power boaters partying on to the earlier hours of the morning (justice that only two finished). In the morning the camp was frozen over, there were even icicles on the paddles. Putting on cold damp gear wasn’t very motivating for Shane and Dave. They still decided to continue on, through the meandering Tea Trees and have a crack at the big day ahead of them. Dave’s knee was really giving him grief but he kept on going. The water hadn’t got any deeper and rapids galore meant they were in and out of the ski constantly. The pressure was on with the check points for majority of the competitors. Dave and Shane finally made it to the 90km mark only to go around a corner and have a race official yell at them that they had been cut from the race. Their heads dropped in defeat and disappointment. With all the support they had received they really wanted to keep on paddling but it just wasn’t an option. So they looked at each other and said “looks like we are coming back next year! But only if the conditions are better!!!!”
All up they fundraised just over $10,000 which was basically a $1 for every 10 metres that they paddled.
Half the funds from the 2010 and 2011 efforts went to help out families of cancer sufferers and the other half went towards Cancer Research. A great outcome from their efforts.
2011 Avon Descent
2010 Avon Descent