On Monday, 5 August 2019, I will be setting off on my bike from Byron Bay to Noosa for a charity cycling challenge for the KIDS Foundation and National Burns Survivors’ Network. I’ll be sharing the 550km challenge with 11 other riders, as part of the 2019 GIANT Ride 4 KIDS. This ride honors the memory of Dalton Moule, a young burn survivor.
I am a burn survivor and I want to show people how far I have come, and let them know that if I can do it, so can everyone else who has suffered a burn as a child.
I was burnt at the age of 5 in 1968 and have 3rd degree full-thickness burns to approx 60% of my body. I was playing with matches in our family garage and tried to light a piece of material but instead of striking the match away from me, I striked the match towards me, causing my nylon dress to catch alight.
Drop and roll was not taught in schools back in the 60's, so my first instinct was to run, which actually made the flames travel faster up my back. I ran into the shower and turned the cold shower on myself to put out the flames. I spent the next 12 months in Princess Margaret Hospital enduring countless operations and procedures including the torturous debridement. I also did a lot of my schooling in hospital which left me behind the eight ball when I finally returned to school.
Primary school for me was not too bad, I was taught by nuns who were very kind to me. Torture hit when I went to high school, this is where the name calling and bullying started. My parents divorced and there was a complete family break-down, leaving my dad as the sole parent of me and my two brothers until he met my now step mother.
High school to me was like hell, so I was very glad when it finished. I joined the Australian Army at the age of 18 after being told that they would not be responsible for anything that happened whilst in the army with my burns. I served 11 years and to this day I am very grateful to the Army as they not only taught me discipline, but also self respect which is something I did not have much of before joining the Army.
I now have 2 beautiful grown daughters and six grandchildren who are one of the reasons I want to make a difference in KIDS lives and fundraise for the KIDS Foundation.
KIDS Foundation is a not-for-profit charity that educates and empowers children to prevent and recover from injuries and trauma. They hold annual camps for children and their families where they access peer-to-peer and professional support and incredible experiences with people who have endured similar circumstances.
I have seen KIDS at work first-hand, as I had the privilege of attending my first KIDS camp last year and saw the smiles on the faces of so many kids.
This ride for me will be a challenge for me in more ways than one… it’ll be an emotional challenge and physical one. I need all the support I can get so that when my legs hurts and bum feels sore, I know that I’ve got a community around me!
So, I will to commit to riding 550kms on my racing bike to raise much needed funds for the KIDS Foundation, so that more children can attend injuiry recovery camps, if you will commit to a donation to my page.
I promise you that I will commit to this until the finish line, even if I cross it with a little more chafing that I began with!
Please support my challenge - every $500 helps send a child to a KIDS Foundation injury recovery camp!