Adventure includes more than 300km of cycling and hiking before climbing Japan’s highest mountain – all to raise money for a new radiation research project in Perth.
For a group of six brave Perth Dads, tomorrow marks the start of a journey most would never have dreamed of.
After six months of arduous training, “Team Japan” will head to Japan as part of a fund-raising initiative for The Adventurers, a fund-raising charity which funds medical research to discover better treatments and ultimately a cure for childhood brain cancer.
The trip – one of six adventures planned by The Adventurers this year – includes nine days of tough on- and off-road cycling for a total of 300km and elevation gain of over 6,000m before climbing Mt Fuji, Japan’s most famous landmark and, at 3,776m, its highest mountain.
The group – which includes a top mining CFO, senior partners with KPMG and Ernst & Young, a top Perth tax advisory firm, an electrician and an occupational therapist – are all funding the costs of the trip out of their own pockets, with all donations going directly to the charity.
Team Leader and Adventurers Chair Matt Fitzgerald, whose daughter Abigail has been in remission from childhood brain cancer for over two years, says the six months of early mornings and painful training sessions has already been well worthwhile, with the group having raised a staggering $91,000 of their target of $127,600.
“It will be a tough two days trek from base to peak and back again. A true pilgrimage which the Japanese used to go on to appease the main Goddess Fuji San and to help those in sickness to get through their ordeal. This is considered to be a journey of the soul and, for us, it’s a pilgrimage for the health of children affected by brain cancer.
“The commitment and enthusiasm of this group has been absolutely amazing, and I could not be more proud of their efforts,” Matt says.
“We have a group of six Perth fathers who have been taken well out of their comfort zones and personal boundaries with six months of fairly intense training – and are now embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.
“Everyone in the group has been touched either directly or indirectly by childhood brain cancer in some way, and all have embraced this challenge with a spirit that has been reflected in the success of our fund-raising efforts to date.
“The funds we are seeking to raise will go towards our chosen project, which us to help the new X-RAD radiation therapy research project at the Telethon Kids Institute,” Matt said.
“The X-RAD radiation platform has recently been acquired by Telethon Kids and is the first machine of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
“This instrument offers significant research advantages over existing irradiators in terms of precision and accuracy of image-guided radiation targeting. It combines 3D imaging using CT and bioluminescence to locate tumours and enables precise dosing of radiation plus monitoring in real time.”
“This equipment will enable Telethon Kids researchers to accurately test different radiotherapy regimens and better understand why some tumours fail to respond to radiation or how radiation side effects can be minimised.”
Brain cancer kills more children in Australia than any other disease.
“In total, we are fathers to 17 children which, as it happens, matches exactly the average number of children diagnosed with brain cancer every year in WA.”
For children that do survive, the effects of treatment can include life-long disabilities including slowed growth, memory loss, personality changes and difficulty concentrating – their personality, which makes them uniquely them, altered forever.
The members of “Team Japan” are:
|Matthew Fitzgerald||37||Mining Executive/Accountant||Chief Financial Officer – Sandfire Resources||Father of Abigail (high risk brain cancer October 2013, in remission)|
|Michael Fitzgerald||43||Occupational Therapist||Director – In Hand Occupational Therapy||Abigail’s uncle, who has personally seen the horrendous effects of brain cancer treatment on his then 4 year old niece, who’s weight dropped to just 11kg during her 12 month treatment of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy|
|Western Region Assurance Leader – Assurance at Ernst and Young Perth||Didn’t even own a bike when he signed up for an adventure that was “under no circumstances to involve any form of riding”! Now completing hills training rides and night spin classes|
|Ben Reynolds||39||Director||MKT Taxation Services||Father of 6, vomited on the first training ride in the York hills, training at 6am before work – has raised over $22k himself as the top fundraiser of the team|
|Hayden White||38||Partner||Advisory – Restructuring Services at KPMG Perth||Has been to Japan but never into the country and like the rest of us has been training hard to have any chance of making it|
|John White||39||Electrician||Self employed||Signed up straight away once he heard about childhood brain cancer and its devastating effects on kids and their families – had no idea that it kills more of our kids than any other disease|
Notes to editors:
Media contact: Narelle Antonio, Communications Manager – 0402311186
FACTS ABOUT BRAIN CANCER and THE ADVENTURERS.
- Brain cancer kills more children than any other disease in Australia
- Brain tumours are the most common paediatric solid cancer, affecting 200 children in Australia each year.
- The Brain Tumour Research Program, is a collaborative group of researchers at Telethon Kids Institute dedicated to improving our understanding of paediatric brain tumour biology and finding more effective treatments to improve survival rates and quality of life for patients.
- The Adventurers have contributed over $9.5 million to research into childhood brain cancer since we began in 2010.