Russell Thomas (back) with his father, Kevins (right) and Kevin's wife Bettie.
Russell Thomas (back) with his father, Kevins (right) and Kevin's wife Bettie.

Walkers plan Brisbane trek to fight cancer

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

RUSSELL Thomas was so affected by his father being diagnosed with leukaemia, he is willing to walk to Brisbane to help find a cure.

The Gladstone Ambulance officer is one of six locals who will embark on the 550 kilometre journey to the state capital in May in an effort to raise $100,000.

Mr Thomas said the idea for the unique fundraiser was not only because of what his father had been through, but also because of how many other people leukaemia had touched.

'I see it every day in my job, it can affect anyone,' Mr Thomas said.

In fact at any one time 30 to 40 Gladstone families are having to find accommodation in Brisbane while a loved one is treated for the disease. If the Gladstone to Brisbane Walk of Hope is successful, the money raised will go towards patient accommodation in Brisbane, he said.

The local Leukaemia Foundation branch is looking to provide the funds for a building to be called the Gladstone Walk of Hope Unit.

Russell's father Kevin is doing quite well at the moment, but the leukaemia that could one day claim his life has also shown him how it can affect people of all ages.

'I'm OK, you know I've had a good run, but I've seen the young ones it's affected and there's plenty of little toddlers and young kids out there a lot worse off than me.'

Local solicitor Chris Trevor is one of the walkers taking part in the challenge after he has seen first hand the effects of leukaemia and other forms of cancer.

'Basically cancer has wiped out most of my family,' Mr Trevor said.

Mr Trevor enforced that the walk was not a relay, but would instead see the six participants walk 40 to 50 kilometres a day for 14 days.

'At first I just said 'yep no worries I will do it', but then I sat down and realised what a massive undertaking this is,' Mr Trevor said.

'But let's not forget why we're doing this, to raise money for a very worthy cause.'

The group is now looking for a local business to step forward and kick off the fundraising effort with a tax-deductable donation.



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