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Mt Kosciuszko summit: walking for a cause

Happy walkers on the trail to Mt Kosciuszko | Jannice Banks
Happy walkers on the trail to Mt Kosciuszko | Jannice Banks

Walking in the mountains has long been my passion. The Blue Mountains, the Himalayan mountains, the Andean mountains and the European mountains. But never have I walked in the Snowy Mountains, until the end of March this year when I joined a group of supporters to climb Mt Kosciuszko, Australia's highest peak, to raise funds and awareness for the GI Cancer Institute.

The group of 65 participants consisted of specialist doctors and friends, patients (past and present), oncology nurses, palliative dieticians and families who have been impacted by GI Cancer.

With the common goal of climbing to the top of Australia to aid cancer research, they came from all across Australia, Sydney, regional NSW, Queensland and Victoria.

An enormous $139,000 was raised for the GI Cancer Institute!

GI Cancer Charity Challenge walk to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko |  <i>Jannice Banks</i>

We filtered into the Jindabyne Caravan Park on Friday, 26 March 2021, and after settling into our cabins gathered for the 6pm welcome BBQ and introduction to the GI Cancer team, the Huma Charity Challenge team and our guides, Jannice, Dylan, Andy and Tanya.

The incredible meal (catering for all dietary nuances) provided by Dudleys Cafe and the music provided by the talented local musician, Tegan Young set the scene for new meetings, good conversation and the beginnings of a camaraderie that continued and strengthened across the weekend.

Summit Day

Saturday morning was cold but clear, so we rugged up for an early breakfast and boarded our coach en route to Snowy Mountains National Park and Charlotte Pass, the starting point of our 18.5km round trip trek to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko.

After a group photo in the sunshine, we headed into stunning scenery.

Over the course of the day, we encountered all the weather that you would expect from an alpine environment; sunshine, sleet, wind and rain, but despite the challenging conditions at times, the vast landscape, dramatic snow gums and scattered wildflowers made the walk a wonderful and memorable experience for all.

Walking in Kosciuszko National Park |  <i>Jannice Banks</i> Walkers capturing the wilderness of Kosciuszko National Park |  <i>Jannice Banks</i> Happy walkers on the trail to Mt Kosciuszko |  <i>Jannice Banks</i>
 

To say the group members were inspirational is an understatement.

Everyone had a story to tell and a reason to be there.

Happy walkers on the trail to Mt Kosciuszko |  <i>Jannice Banks</i>

Past and present patients of oncologist Dr Nick Pavlakis were incredible in their determination and positive attitude; families who had lost loved ones encouraged others who were going through treatments; some who had no previous affiliation to GI Cancer joined to participate in something they felt worthy and nurses, and specialist staff made me realise how fortunate we are to have the medical system we do!

Happy walkers on the trail to Mt Kosciuszko |  <i>Jannice Banks</i>

Braving cold, strong winds and hazy weather on the ascent, it was still all smiles at the top – and some even had a celebratory champagne glass or two.

Walkers celebrating at the summit of Mt Kosciuszko |  <i>Jannice Banks</i>

It was a big day for everyone, so after a hot shower back in our cabins, we headed to the Banjo Paterson Inn to celebrate our achievements.

Charity fundraisers celebrating at the summit of Mt Kosciuszko |  <i>Jannice Banks</i>

I'm looking forward to returning to the Snowys in spring in support of our staff in Nepal and Peru who are really doing it tough through the pandemic. I hope you can join us on our 'Climb Kozi 4 Ground Staff' Charity Challenge in November 2021.

Words by Megan Harris from Huma Charity Challenge
 


Charity Challenge, Australia, Hiking, Walking, Mount Kosciuszko

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