Borough Belles to join Coastrek fundraiser
THE Borough Belles will take on The Wild Women On Top Sydney Coastrek next month to give the gift of sight and change lives.
The event is an annual fundraising adventure trek that has raised more than $20 million for The Fred Hollows Foundation since 2009.
The four Maryborough working women, Deb Hannam, Margie Johnston, Tracey Christoffel and Bronwyn Frampton, have been in rigorous training and have just four weeks before the trek.
"We have used Facebook to promote the trek and have called on family, friends and work colleagues to donate to the fundraiser,” Margie said.
"People have been more generous than expected.”
Margie has already done a trek last year raising $2500 for the foundation.
"I did the Sunshine Coast trek - I was asked by a friend who knew I loved hiking and ended up going with complete strangers,” she said. "One of the biggest things I found while hiking, which I do a lot of but not as a fundraiser, is that I felt so good about myself because of the money I had raised for the Fred Hollows Foundation.
Each year, teams of four, including at least two women, walk along Sydney's stunning coastline for 60 kilometres from one iconic beach at Manly to another at Bondi, or 30 kilometres from Kirribilli to Bondi Beach, and raise at least $2000 per team for The Foundation.
The Borough Belles have raised more than $2500 and were looking for more donations.
"Twenty-five dollars gives sight to one person - we are giving sight to a lot of people,” Margie said.
"It changes people lives doing these fundraisers and that is why I am doing it again.
"I have also challenged myself to the 60 kilometres trek.”
Tracey Christoffel said they funds also give training to doctors to perform operations.
"I have done a 14-day trek in the Himalayas - high altitude and 250 kms,” Tracey said.
"I work with Margie and always loved a challenge - especially with fitness.
"I have always been a fundraiser - Deb and I are in the Maryborough Mural Project - I used to do the 40-hour famine every year with my kids way back in the 90s with my kids.
"I have always been community minded.”
The Belles have been following a training guide suggested by the trek organisers.
Deb Hannam said they had lots of advice on their website.
"They have got lots of supportive and helpful information like first aid, blister management, using walking poles, hydration, electrolytes,” she said.
"They say as you train that's when you bring everything in, don't do anything new on the day.”
The trekkers said they were expecting the trek to take them about 12 to 14 hours.
"If we average about 5kilometres an hour and the Love and Kiss Stops which include breaks for snacks, water and toilet - we should make it about 12 hours,” Tracey said.
Bronwyn said she had trained in pouring rain.
"It has been suggested even when you plan a training session, continued through because it could rain on the day.
"The fundraiser is not called off - even if it storms.”
Another Fraser Coast team, Seeing is Believing with members Lisa Hunt, Tracie Carr, Robyn Bates and Carrie Phillips will do the 30km trek for the annual fundraiser.
The 10th annual Sydney Coastrek will be on March 16 with the 60km trekkers starting at Manly and the 30km trekkers starting at Kirribilli.
Founding Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation, Gabi Hollows, said it was inspiring to see so many people join the fight to end avoidable blindness.
"There are more than 36 million people in the world who are blind, and four out of five of them don't need to be,” she said.
"I am incredibly moved and inspired to see people still going to such great lengths to help realise Fred's vision of a world where no person is needlessly blind.
"To everyone participating in this year's Sydney Coastrek, thank you for giving the gift of sight by taking on this challenge. We are incredibly grateful for your support.”
To support the Borough Belles visit sydney.coastrek.com.au/ fundraiser/Borough Belles477 or for more information sydney.coastrek.com.au.