Walkers cheered at Gabba as target almost met
By REN LANZONnewsroom@gladstoneobserver.com.au
BEING part of the Gladstone Walk of Hope was a bigger thrill than carrying the Olympic Torch, participant Chris Trevor said yesterday.
'But the biggest thrill is that we will come close to raising the $100,000 we set out to do,' he said.
Mr Trevor, who had the honour of carrying the Olympic Torch in the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, said he received even more satisfaction from completing the Walk of Hope.
He and six other Gladstone people ? Russell Thomas, Ben Ghee, Ian Brown, Kim Turner, Kellie Shields and Jo Ryan ? took part in the walk of about 40km each day for 14 days to raise funds for a Brisbane accommodation unit for leukaemia patients and family members.
'If we don't get what we want out of that effort, I'm willing to put my shoes on again and walk back to Gladstone.'
Mr Trevor and the six other walk participants did a lap of honour in front of 33,684 cheering football enthusiasts just before the Brisbane Lions versus Richmond Australian Rules match on Saturday evening.
But there will be no further celebrations.
'We were too tired to celebrate on Saturday night, and we're still tired today (Sunday), so I expect we will spend most of the day cat-napping,' Mr Trevor said.
'The trouble is, our bodies were not accustomed to that kind of endurance, so we slept little during the two weeks of the walk.'
He said reports on the fundraising were encouraging.
'According to estimates the walk has raised about $70,000, but more should be coming from what was raised at the Lions game,' he said.
Leukaemia Foundation staff passed buckets around the crowd to collect extra funds while the walkers did their lap of honour.
'Also I had people ring me yesterday (Saturday) promising more money so we should go close to raising the targeted $100,000.'
Mr Trevor said he was'lucky to be surrounded by so many determined people'.
'They toughed it out ? their courage was extraordinary and typical of the good old Aussie spirit.'
Joining the walkers during the lap of honour at the Gabba were Deputy Premier Terry Mackenroth, Emergency Services Minister Chris Cummins, Gladstone mayor Peter Corones and Councillor Len Smith.