Woman will walk to raise funds and awareness
A WOMAN on a mission to raise awareness and money for the families of Australian soldiers injured or killed overseas will walk 100km in four days.
Claire Skipper, a Gold Coast legal clerk, said the Fit for Freedom Costal Walk from Cape Byron to Surfers Paradise would honour the memory of her brother, Corporal Darren "Big Daz" Bonner, whose life was lost by a land mine in Afghanistan in May 2007.
"He was planning life after retirement from the British Army, but he died just one month before the end of his final tour of duty," she said.
Mrs Skipper wants to raise more than $5000 for the defence members, veterans and families who are struggling financially due to severe wounding, death or disability.
She's hoping to get some businesses and individuals on board as sponsors.
Her inspiration came from her mother Christine who has for the past six years organised a fundraising walk in England for her late son Darren's Regiment.
"After my brother's death I think organising the walk and helping Darren's army family is really what saved her," Mrs Skipper said.
"My brother had served in a lot of places including Iraq, Bosnia and Afghanistan.
"It was often hard watching him cope with the stresses of war and of course nothing prepares you for the news that they won't be coming home at all."
Because of Darren, Mrs Skipper became interested in the issues associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, physical rehabilitation and the care the families of Australian Defence Force members receive.
"If I can raise awareness for the Australian Defence Force Assistance Trust through doing this walk then it will honour the memory of Darren and his mates," she said.
Proceeds from the walk will be donated to the Australian Defence Force Assistance Trust, a new charity providing financial assistance to those in the defence community who have been severely affected by service to the nation, particularly in recent conflicts such as Afghanistan.
Australian Defence Force Assistance Trust chairman Dr Ken Michael praised Claire for her support of Australian defence families.
"The Fit for Freedom Coastal Walk is a great initiative and gives companies and individuals the opportunity to help support our defence families by sponsoring Claire," he said.
"The walk also raises awareness of the fact that for many defence personnel and families, the end of a tour of duty may signal the beginning of a more challenging personal journey."
To cheer Mrs Skipper on, head to Cape Byron Lighthouse on Thursday April 18, at 9am.
Or you can catch her at the finish line at Lionel Perry Park, Surfers Paradise on Sunday April 21 at 1pm.
If you're able to spare money to help the cause visit www.adfassistancetrust.org.au
For Corporate sponsors contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0499 994 025.