The Great Wall of China Trek

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					The Great Wall of China Trek
Raising funds for Cancer Research
For all of us the loss of someone very close and dear not only changes the way we see the
world but the way we operate in it For some throwing up physical challenges is a vehicle
to honour memories celebrate life and help to change lives in the future Here Association
member Lou McWilliam tells us a little about her quest in support of the Australian Cancer
Research Foundation (ACRF)

Lou firstly can you tell us the motivation
behind this fundraising drive
Since losing sister Amanda I’ve wanted to
do fundraising for a cancer research
organisation I had considered a big
fundraising event a quiz night or ball but
that would be a huge amount of
organizing for perhaps not huge net
return When I found out about the trek on
the Great Wall of China organised by
Inspired Adventures
(www inspiredadventures com) I got very
excited I kept the leaflet for months and
it was on the back burner in my mind I         started to feel pain in her stomach area and
figured it would be a great vehicle for        couldn’t keep food down She saw several
fundraising And hopefully by sharing           different doctors During February she had
photographs and my story after the trek        endoscopies and colonoscopies — these
people who’ve donated also get something       revealed nothing It wasn’t until she had
back I’m totally fascinated by “The Wall” It   a stomach operation (they opened her up)
could be my topic on “Mastermind”              and found that she had two huge tumours
                                               One tumour blocked the entrance to the
Sadly your sister Amanda Jane lost her         intestines — why she couldn’t keep food
fight with cancer in      What form of         down the other in the bowel She was told
cancer did she have and how long did she       she was ‘worse than Stage IV…more like
live with this disease? How old was she             ’ She was told she’d have to
when she passed away?                          months to live — she said that she was
Amanda had stomach and bowel cancer for        “going to go for ”! It was aggressive and
how long we don’t know She was just            the pain was great She was very happy “to
years old when she died Amanda was             go” Now she’s at peace
diagnosed on St Patrick’s Day in
(March ) and passed away six weeks             What do you think she would like to be
later She had been tired for a very long       remembered for?
time and it was put down to chronic            Being a great mum She was a totally
fatigue syndrome or depression She was         devoted mother who loved her son
tired in bed over Christmas In January she     Matthew (who was years old at the

KangaNews October
time) “more than life itself” They were         have to beat
more like best pals than parent child He’s a    one minute
brave young man just turned       We’re all     up to the
so proud of him Okay time to re group           top of the
just wiping away a tear It’s okay I love        hill each
thinking about her talking about her I’m        time
not sure if you know Josh Groban’s song
“To Where You Are” The lyrics are               Would you
beautiful soothing and powerful I do feel       have
her with me — I know she’s not far away         considered
The truth is she’ll be remembered for so        reasonably
much more Extremely popular vivacious           fit when
and not a mean side to her One of life’s        you signed
givers She kept me out many late nights         up for this?
One time leaving Jo Bananas at am on a          Yes
school night and then going into work           reasonably fit compared to the average
(sorry ex boss lah)! When I lived in Pok Fu     lass! Of course would like to be fitter
Lam she couldn’t remember it so she’d tell
taxi drivers “Pork Food Lamb”…                  What do you expect will be your greatest
                                                physical challenges personally on this
Your Great Wall of China Adventure from         journey and have you had any time to
    September to October conjures up all        dwell on the emotional impact? I’ll miss
sorts of images; aches and pains stunning       Pacific Coffee that’s for sure I’ve heard
vistas and lots of ups and downs…literally!     some sections are so steep that you need to
How have you been preparing for this            use your hands as well as your feet to climb
   km section along “The Wall”? What’s the      up I have “invested” in two walking sticks
daily training routine? Paint the picture for   (thanks Association member Jase Pacey for
us Daily stair                                  the tip off) and boy do they make a
walking in our                                  difference I’m not sure if it’s cheating but
house Up and                                    that’s okay with me!
down flights of
stairs times                                    I believe I have the stamina I did trek for
Been doing a lot                                three weeks in Papua New Guinea a while
of exercise at                                  back Walked the Kokoda Trail so have
home since I have                               some idea what to expect though this will
two young                                       be much much tougher
extremely active
children aged and and time is limited           Being a healthy Aussie ( Brit) I like beer
I’ve been trying to do some aerobic activity    and so that has been a physical hardship —
each day either running or swimming I           reducing consumption!
really wanted to fit yoga into the
programme but this hasn’t happened But I        Regarding the emotional impact I think I’m
do lots of stretching Some arm exercises        prepared I’ve tried to keep focused about
sit up and press ups Have been hiking to        the reasons for doing this have done a
Trio Beach from Shelter Cove…a lot              groovy Mind Map and have a Visual Board
There’s one very steep section so I repeat      — photos of Great Wall especially of steep
that five times in a row and time myself I      sections so these have been my guiding

KangaNews October
tools if you like Every now and then I try        have been a little shy to ‘blast the trumpet’
to visualise being there with all these           about this I probably could’ve raised more
people I don’t know       people I’ve never       media attention I also have these two
met Sometimes I think “aaaaagh…what if            delightful children They require a lot of
we don’t…gel” but I’m sure we will I              supervision and attention so I’ve been
believe it’ll be therapeutic for each of us       waking up at strange hours of the night to
being with like minded people who’ve most         try and write media releases or work on the
probably gone through similar experiences         webpage! If I were to do it all over again I
of seeing a loved one die I’m hoping              would sign up for the trek sooner and find
perhaps we can have an overnight candle           someone in Hong Kong even a stranger to
lit vigil share stories and celebrate the lives   participate in the walk also Then we could
of our loved ones Maybe have a group              have shared the workload! My lack of
weep That should help get more out of the         technical skills on the computer have
system Purging is good But just for one           slowed me down
night The rest of the time should be spent
laughing and enjoying being alive                 Let’s talk fashion…what gear will you be
                                                  wearing what colour and what boots?
What have been your greatest challenges           Ha ha fashion so not me! My denim
and/or obstacles setting it all up? Knowing       shorts will get some wear along with my
where to start with the fundraising and           golf tennis skorts Comfort is key I will be
how far to take it I decided to “go for it”       wearing LINKS Relocations and
and put together a website with as much           Commonwealth Bank accessories — so
info as possible I thought this would be          important for photo shoots don’t you
important to have for any corporate               think? I have a great pair of hiking boots —
sponsors But for friends alike If people are      if they sponsor me I’ll tell you the brand
parting with hard earned cash it’s good to        name ha ha!
know what it’s all about Especially
regarding the organisation receiving the          Finally tell us a little about ACRF
donations in this case ACRF                       They’re a world class organisation which
                                                  funds cancer research for all the different
Everyone in Hong Kong has been so                 types of cancer They are progressive and
supportive and encouraging me along the           have been behind global breakthroughs
way The Aussie community is so strong             such as the vaccine for cervical cancer I
and efficient It’s an impressive network I        have strong faith in what they’re doing I
                                                  am hopeful I’ve put lots of info about them
                                                  on my webpage Also please see their site at
                                                  www acrf com au

                                                  Good luck Lou we look forward to the de
                                                  brief on your safe return to Hong Kong

                                                  Take a look at Lou’s website for masses of
                                                  details about the trip and donation
                                                  opportunities: www go louey go acrf
                                                  great wall china net

                                                                                   Susie Crombie
Lou’s two children George and Lara

                                                                       October       KangaNews