Thursday, July 25, 2024

Aussie grandmother walks 900km for vulnerable children

A remarkable grandmother and avid walker has completed an unbelievable walking journey from Brisbane to Sydney to raise awareness and support for a cause close to her heart – combatting child exploitation.

62-year-old Tracey Spithill (pictured) conquered over 900 kilometres in two months to raise funds and awareness for Destiny Rescue, a non-profit organisation dedicated to rescuing and restoring children from sex trafficking and exploitation all over the world.

Tracey said it’s hard for her not to be affected by the global issue after witnessing it herself.

“I’ve visited Thailand with my daughter and saw first hand the impact of child sex exploitation, and it has moved me deeply. I’m still emotional about it today.”

Tracey said at times throughout the walk she was ready to give up but the cheering on by everybody and the belief that people had in her spurred her on.

“I felt quite emotional when I finished the walk. It was a long time away from home and my family, and I missed my grandkids and my kids. I was happy to finish but I do miss being out in the country, walking the roads and meeting people.”

“I am so incredibly thankful to all those who donated and encouraged me to keep going. The feeling of elation when I finished was unlike anything I’ve felt before,” she said. 

Tracey shared advice to others wanting to do something similar and make a difference to the lives of vulnerable children all over the world.

“Don’t get caught up in the minutes you don’t think you’ll be able to do, do the minutes you can and be part of the solution in giving children a new life – there’s nothing quite like that feeling.”

This wasn’t Tracey’s first fundraiser walk and she says it won’t be her last.

“I’ve completed a number of fundraising walks before including an 882-kilometre walk from Sydney to Melbourne in 2018, a 400 kilometre walk from Stanley to St Marys in Tasmania in 2020, and in March 2023 I completed a 304 kilometre walk in Tasmania from Low Head to the top of Kunanyi (Mt Wellington in Hobart).

“I’m not entirely sure what the future holds but I do have some ideas. I’d like to organise some local day walks, maybe with lunch, or a wine and walk fundraiser,” she said.

CEO of Destiny Rescue, Paul Mergard said the organisation was honoured there are so many people like Tracey who are willing to give up their time to help fight against the world’s fastest growing crisis.

“We’ve got a whole bunch of people organising incredible fundraisers this year, getting involved in the community doing fun runs, walks, pull-up challenges and other fundraising initiatives.”

“We’re so grateful for these amazing humans. Their fundraising efforts will go towards investigative work, rescue and recovery, reintegration and ongoing protection of young people across the globe,” he said.

Mr Mergard is also calling on Australians to help Destiny Rescue reach its rescue targets each year.

“Sex trafficking is a global crisis, USD $99 billion is generated by sex traffickers every year. On average it costs us $1,800 to rescue a child and get them onto a pathway to freedom so we need help to continue the fight,” he said.

To donate to Tracey’s fundraiser: https://movetorescue.com.au/t/walk-for-destiny.

For more information or to become a Rescue Partner, go to www.destinyrescue.org.

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