Today, I received an email from Brian which I thought I would share with you. I first met Brian early 2008 when he told me of his desire to walk the Kokoda Track for his 70th birthday. Brian has followed every posting on our website and taken it all on board during his preparation for his upcoming trek. Four weeks to go as I post this:
Hi Folks, Just a little over four weeks now before I leave for the Kokoda Trek the walk of my life two days into which I will be celebrating my 70th birthday what a great birthday present that will be.
A little over 12 months ago now I had a health scare after both the doctors looking after me assured me that all whilst not 100% all was well I just had to set myself a challenge one that amongst other things would encourage me to lose weight and whilst hard one I felt that with effort I could achieve. About that time I had just been talking to a good friend about Kokoda and the hardships that our troops must have experienced whilst fighting there this lead to me choosing the Kokoda Trek as my challenge.
I have since lost over 20kgs in weight and am much fitter now near 70 that I have been for years despite this, the gym work, bushwalking and other training I am not expecting it to be a picnic at all quite the opposite the challenge is certainly still very much there whilst confident that I will just with shear determination get to the end of the track there is always that chance that I wont if I do not I assure you that it will not be for the lack of trying.
There are those that I must give sincere thanks to who helped to make this all possible first my family and good friends all of whom have encouraged me all the way, those many Ex Kokoda Trekkers some of whom I have met, others I have walked with, even more whom I have met using email thanks to each of you your encouragement and advice has played a very important part in my challenge.
I must particularly thank Natalie Newell from the Logan West Newspaper, Thomas Pollume a previous PNG Consul, Gail Thomas from Kokoda Trekking and in particular Wallace Lemaki a Kokoda guide whom I met and walked Mt. Warning with during his brief stay in Queensland I am very please to say that Wallace will be my guide when I do the trek myself.
Unfortunately the age pension does not make allowances for those wanting to trek Kokoda, rightly so, I must really thank the following for without both their encouragement and support this challenge well may never have eventuated I thank each and everyone of you as your support has really assisted me in to make it all possible. John McDonald LifeStyle Health Clubs, Dominic Deligny Personal Trainer, Dick Smith Dick Smith Foods, Logan City Council (Cr Cherie Dalley) and Mervyn Beamish my brother I am so grateful to each of you you really do not know just how much your support has meant.
The person I owe most thanks to is my wife Maureen who has put up with me up early most mornings heading off either to the gym, Kangaroo Point cliffs or off bushwalking some where or other along with my tantrums when I could not get something, my old body parts, working right not to mention my aches and pains at times. I even took her away for a holiday where Maureen stayed near the camp site for 5 consecutive days whilst I walked Mt Warning 5 days in a row just to prove to myself that I could. Maureen is one in a million and I love her very much. I should add that Maureen not once has queried the expense of all the new gear appearing and the monies going out to achieve this challenge one that unfortunately this time she is unable to take part in herself.
Thanks again each and every one of you although I will not be able to handle one for each of you rest assured that when I reach Kokoda, and I will, I will certainly enjoy a beer or two for you soon after I arrive. I am actually extending my stay in Kokoda itself for 3 days and will have time to do just that.
PS: If I have missed you out please accept my apology as everyone's encouragement has been so important to me I have appreciated it ever so much.
A Pensioner On A Mission To Walk Kokoda
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