11 – 21 November 2019
Join us as we trek the iconic Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea!
One of the world’s greatest treks, the Kokoda Track links the south and north coast of Papua New Guinea across 96 kilometres of rugged mountain terrain, tropical rainforest and unspoiled villages. Over 9 days, you will trek the track by day, open to the harsh and inspiring beauty of Papua New Guinea’s tropical rainforest. To top it off, with every step you take you will support the Leukaemia Foundation’s important work.
- Register Your Interest
- About this Challenge
- How you'll make a difference
- Robert's Story
- Fast facts
- How Do I Register?
Enter your details to receive the full itinerary and information pack about the Kokoda Challenge to Beat Blood Cancer!
1942 saw the Kokoda Track as a scene of bitter fighting when the Australian Army fought to defend Port Moresby from advancing Japanese forces. Today, walking that same track has become an iconic pilgrimage for those wanting to honour the ANZAC spirit.
Regarded as one of the world’s greatest treks, the Kokoda Track links the south and north coast of Papua New Guinea across 96 kilometres of rocky mountain terrain, tropical rainforest and pristine villages.
On this inspiring adventure, you will trek the track by day, open to the unforgiving and inspiring beauty of Papua New Guinea’s tropical rainforest. As nightfall descends, you will stay in isolated camps, swapping stories with local Koiari and Orokaiva people and falling asleep to the nocturnal sounds of the jungle.
Best of all, with every step you take you will help the Leukaemia Foundation support people with blood cancer.
Leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma are all types of blood cancer and they can develop in anyone, of any age, at any time. Another 35 Australians are diagnosed each and every day.
Although improved treatments and care are helping more people survive, sadly someone loses their life to blood cancer every two hours. In fact, blood cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in Australia, claiming more lives than breast cancer or melanoma.
By raising money for the Leukaemia Foundation you can make a difference by giving families fighting blood cancer the emotional and practical support they need.
You will also fund critical medical research that will help more people beat their blood cancer. Researchers funded by generous supporters of the Leukaemia Foundation are working tirelessly to discover safer and more effective treatments that will save lives and help people lead a better quality of life.
Your support will also ensure the Leukaemia Foundation can continue to give those impacted by blood cancer a strong voice, advocating for change and ensuring all Australians who need them have easy access to the very best blood cancer treatments.
• $30 can give families a tailored information pack to help them face their blood cancer diagnosis.
• $53 means we can visit someone in hospital to help overcome his or her fears about treatment.
• $80 can give a regional family a home for a night to reduce the financial burden of city treatment.
• $150 can fund a PhD scholarship recipient to support a major blood cancer research project for a day
• $5,000 will fund 3 months of laboratory costs for a research project to discover better treatments for blood cancer.
Robert’s battler spirit not only helped him take on the Kokoda trail but also an ALL diagnosis
Robert, 60, of the NSW central coast has never been one to shy away from a challenge, conquering the Kokoda trail, the Himalayas, as well as a shock acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) diagnosis in 2014.
Kokoda was the first trek for Robert and his wife Kelly also taking along their son, Bruno who was just 15-years-old at the time.
“I thought it was a great opportunity for us to do something of importance together – I have a very keen interest in war and history so wanted to get a better understanding of what the Aussie militia went through to protect our country,” said Robert.
“We ended up getting a group of 16 people together for the trek and underwent nine months of training to prepare. We did a lot of research and had heard from others about how tough it is. We went to the gym six days a week religiously to get our cardiovascular fitness up and then three months prior we also joined a boot camp.”
“But really, the best training would’ve been walking up and down a ladder with a sack of potatoes on your back. A particularly unforgiving part of the trek is Seven Hills that’s up and down for 3 hours straight, a huge mental and physical battle.
“When we first got there I thought I was Arnold Schwarzenegger and insisted on carrying all my gear like what the Aussie soldiers did. Halfway through the first day I literally collapsed and couldn’t get back up so they offered me a porter for the rest of the week… I couldn’t get rid of my stuff fast enough offering my first born in exchange – luckily Bruno has an older sister so wasn’t offended,” laughs Robert.
Robert says that despite the relentless challenge of the trek, it’s one of the best things he has ever done.
“You hear so many stories about the displays of the heroism of our Aussie soldiers but actually being there and seeing what they had to go through – it’s both unbelievable and heartbreaking,” said Robert.
“Walking through the Owers’ Corner arch at the end is a particularly special moment and felt like a big achievement.
“I would highly recommend the trek, it was a trip of a lifetime and we certainly won’t forget it anytime soon.”
Robert’s experience on the Kokoda trail certainly draws some parallels to his experience being treated for ALL.
“It’s so important to believe in yourself, being positive and hopeful, and having positive people around you helps the journey dramatically,” said Robert.
“The ALL diagnosis was a bit of a shock as I was a very healthy person. I’d hardly been to the doctor in 26 years and the last time I’d been to hospital was when our son was born. I hadn’t had a Panadol for 15 years and suddenly I was having 47 tablets a day!
“I was given just weeks to live so started the chemotherapy immediately and I then had a stem cell transplant.
“Luckily, I reacted well to the transplant with only minor side-affects. It was the subsequent surgeries for my diverticulitis, diagnosed around the same time as the ALL, that really knocked me about but I’ve managed to bounce back and fighting fit these days.”
During the three weeks Robert spent in Sydney for his transplant, Kelly stayed in a Leukaemia Foundation patient and family accommodation unit nearby.
They are now big supporters of the Leukaemia Foundation, joining the Blood Buddies program and holding community fundraisers.
“As much as we are helping other people going through or about to go through a similar journey, it helps me understand my journey as well, and that’s given me a lot of strength and positive power. And I’ve met some lovely people along the way.”
“Doing the Kokoda Trail to Beat Blood Cancer would be a great way of improving both your mental and physical fitness all while supporting a fantastic cause that helps families like my own through their blood cancer journey.
11 - 21 November 2019
11 Day Trip
8 Day Challenge
Twin-share in 3-Star hotels and at comfortable campsites
Registration fee: $770 (non-refundable)
Travel quote: Trek Only $3945*, Brisbane $4745*, Cairns $4645*, Sydney *$4995, including taxes
Fundraising target: $3,500
Want to learn more? Enter your details in the form below to instantly receive your information pack.
Questions? Give us a call on 1300 905 188.