Announcing Kokoda18

In August 2017, two amazing members of our community, Greg and Tracey, headed to Papua New Guinea to tackle the famous Kokoda Track. This gruelling seven day journey took them through 98km of beautiful and harsh tropical landscape and profound history, as they followed in the footsteps of the ANZACs.

Kokoda17 aimed to champion awareness of Alopecia Areata and to raise much needed funds towards research into this condition. The team raised over $12,000 to support individuals and families whose lives have been changed by Alopecia Areata.

In March 2018, a second team is taking up this challenge, and you’re invited too! Kokoda18 is now recruiting!

Andy, whose wife Amanda has Alopecia Areata, is tackling the Kokoda Trail in March 2018 and we’re looking to recruit fearless adventurers to join him on this journey of a lifetime.

If pushing your boundaries to help support people in need sounds like a challenge you’d be winning to champion, get in touch with us at greg@aaaf.org.au to find out more about being part of the Kokoda18 team. 

Stories from Kokoda17

 

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Tracey’s Story

“From day one, of seeing the AAAF post for the Kokoda trek, I felt the sense of excitement for the challenge and of being a part of something great.  I knew instantly the trek would be mentally and physically hard but I felt it was a challenge I needed to help me break out of the shell I had surrounded myself in since the beginning of my Alopecia.

During the trek I meet some wonderful people from my fellow trekkers to the porters that were our support.  There were days that were so difficult that I thought to myself “Why in the hell am I doing this” lol.  But I know why, it is because it is something greater than me, something more important, experiencing only a part of what our Australian soldiers endured, realising there are things out there bigger and more important than my Alopecia.

My Alopecia no longer rules me, it is secondary to the life of adventures I am now living.  I finally, after 10 years, have my life back.  They say trekking the Kokoda trail is life changing, I say that is an understatement.  It is the best, hardest, most challenging thing I have ever done and am so proud of myself for this achievement.  I encourage people to step away from Alopecia and take on life.”

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Greg’s Story

“I can honestly say it was the most challenging thing I have ever done both physically and mentally and certainly one of my most rewarding experiences. For me, carrying my own pack for all of the 98 km was a personal achievement and I was the oldest trekker of our group to do this. It wasn’t easy, but I achieved what I set out to do.

The whole campaign was very successful in creating awareness about Alopecia Areata as well as raising funds for us to continue our important work. We were able to get exposure in local and national media which gave us reach beyond what we are normally able to achieve.

From a personal point of view, the journey provided a great appreciation of the sacrifices of the Australian soldiers who battled against the odds to finally prevail against the Japanese Imperial Army. The battled sickness, hunger, a better equipped and larger enemy force. The four values demonstrated so beautifully by the four pillars at Isurava War Memorial were so evident in the battles – Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice – values we can all take up in life to make us better people.

DSCN3561An enduring memory for me is the remarkable people of PNG particularly from the villages we encountered. These people are the descendants of the “fuzzy wuzzy angels” that were so vital in helping the Australian cause during the war – carrying stretchers and supplies and providing intelligence vital to the war effort. The term “fuzzy wuzzies” is accepted with great pride and it was a personal highlight to meet one of the few surviving FWA’s from the war in Kagi village and the beautiful children there who welcomed us with a song and a garland of flowers for each of us. These are a beautiful people, living a simple life with great dignity and the joy of life. A highlight for us was the morning “haka” to get us motivated for the day and also the beautiful singing of the village children and the porters.

Despite the events of 75 years ago, the Kokoda Track passes through some amazing unspoiled mountain and jungle environments with abounding birdlife, beautiful mountain streams and waterfalls. DSCN3577

A special bond was formed amongst the 24 trekkers and the porters who shared something that was indeed life changing. This is something I would recommend to anyone who wants a challenge and a moving experience.”

 

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To register your interest in joining the Kokoda18 team, which will head to PNG in March 2018, or to find out more about the trek, contact greg@aaaf.org.au 

 

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