It’s hot, sweaty and humid. There’s a strange smell in the air.
I feel like I’m going to pass out and hit my head on the concrete floor. Overhead, a fan hums listlessly.
The ward is packed with people of all ages with a variety of injuries – so crowded that families are sleeping on the floor.
In a corner bed lies a young farmer – a father of four. The burns to the back of his knees are relatively minor but they’ve never been treated in the five years since they happened, and bit by bit they have contractured (when skin is burned, the surrounding skin begins to pull together).
As a result, he can’t walk.
We are told he has spent the past couple of years pulling himself along by his hands, while his atrophied legs dangle behind him.
Without the use of his legs, he cannot farm. Without farming, he cannot feed his family.
We were in Laos, Michael and I, with the not-for-profit Interplast.
They send medical teams (surgeons, nurses, physios etc) to developing countries in the Asia Pacific to perform reconstructive (and life-changing) surgery. They also train up local surgeons and medical staff, so the whole community keeps benefiting long after.
My surgeon, Dr Peter Haertsch, first introduced me to their work when I was in hospital. And the more I learned about what this group of Aussie and Kiwi surgeons did – and have been doing, on a volunteer basis, for more than 35 years – the more I became determined to do something to help them out.
And that’s how my fundraising adventures began.
Over the past five years or so, I’ve led teams of ordinary people, from all backgrounds, countries and walks of life, on some epic adventures. We’ve tackled the Great Wall of China, the Inca Trail, Kokoda and Everest Base Camp – all to raise money so Interplast can continue their work.
I’m so excited to announce that registrations for our next adventure are now open.
We’ll be tackling part of the iconic Larapinta Trail, the length of which stretches from the old Alice Springs Telegraph Station to the peak of Mount Sonder along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges.
Over five days of trekking, we’ll cover more than 60 kilometres of Central Australia in an epic adventure. And, most importantly, we’ll raise funds for Interplast to continue their incredible work.
And you can be part of the crew!
Click here to get all the info.
It’s an experience that will teach you so much:
- Reaching the top of a mountain you didn’t think you could possibly ascend.
- Finding humour in the least funny of circumstances.
- Meeting new, like-minded people and walking with them together to raise money for a good cause.
It’s funny because every time I finish one of these adventures and head home, I always feel a bit weird. Other trekkers have said the same thing.
I remember speaking to the trekkers from our Kokoda adventure a couple of weeks after we’d returned home. We were all pining to go back. And none of us could work out why. Because it was hot and cold and sweaty and bloody hard.
But there is something so wonderfully simple about our daily existence on these trips: wake up, eat, walk, laugh, eat, walk some more, laugh some more, eat, sleep. And somewhere along that track, a group of strangers become a little family. Completely cut off from the rest of the world and utterly dependent on one another – for company, for encouragement, for amusement, for support – we forge a bond.
And knowing that you’ve seriously made a difference in the world while you were at it? Well, that’s an opportunity that I’ll always be grateful for.
There are, as always, limited spots, so get cracking.