Get Real Finance mortgage broker Matthew Thompson initially joined the gruelling 96km Kokoda Challenge to break from old habits and create a healthier lifestyle. But when he and Get Real Finance director Kelly Cameron learned more about the charity behind the trek, they decided to commit not just themselves, but an entire team. They also set a lofty fundraising goal— $10,000 for the Kokoda Youth Foundation
In Australia, the Kokoda Challenge involves a 96km hike around the Gold Coast hinterland, which should be completed in 39 hours. Despite the course having to be extended and tweaked following a cyclone, the Get Real Finance team was able to complete it in less than 33 hours – and more than double their fundraising target.
“As a team we managed to raise approximately $21,200, making us the top fund raisers for 2017,” Thompson told MPA. As a prize for raising the most funds, they were invited to hike the real Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea last July – another 96km trek, this time through the country’s Owen Stanley Range.
According to Thompson, when looking at the charity behind the event, it wasn’t hard to raise the money. The Kokoda Youth Foundation helps young Australians who have had a troubled past to set their life in a positive direction.
“Alcohol or drug abuse, domestic violence, sole parent families, and problems with the law — nearly everyone has someone in their own family or circle of friends who is having problems with one or more of these issues,” Thompson said. “The real challenge is to provide kids with a stable influence in their lives.”
Thompson pointed out that another benefit of the charity is how it prepares one mentally; especially these days when mental health has dominated the headlines.
“There was a lot of interest from clients, family, and friends. A lot of them know someone who had completed or attempted to complete the event in previous years, so it was good to listen to their experiences to try and learn as much as we could in preparation,” he said.