Kokoda, Heath Ducker, & ‘A Room at the Top’

I first met Heath Ducker as a young lad on a leadership program I used to run for Youth Insearch. He always impressed me with his sincerity and his willingness to learn.

Youth Insearch was established by a remarkable couple, Ron and Judith Barr. Over the years more than 30,000 troubled teenagers have passed through their programs and put their lives back on course. Many have achieved outstanding success within their families, their communities and their professions. Heath Ducker’s story, which includes his struggle on Kokoda, is the story of Youth Insearch. [Read more…]

Kokoda: Back on Track

You can almost taste the salt in the air this morning.  Haze hangs in a heavy veil over the sea while the waves upsurge then dive into the sand with constant savagery.  Crashing like my thoughts, one into another, blatant and uncontrollable.  I feel the hardness of the park seat press my suit trousers against ageing bones, while fingers of cool air slip around my collar and I momentarily shiver.  On the surface I appear as calm as the sea around the Long Reef headland up there in the distance. [Read more…]

Renee Kennedy’s Kokoda Story

Hi, my name is Renee Kennedy and I have recently conquered The Kokoda Trail.

Why would a mother of two and physically unfit choose to walk The Kokoda Trail? Well, it all began on 31st August 2005 when my daughter was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia at the age of 17 months old. I was devastated, I blamed myself as I suffered with depression throughout my pregnancy and after she was born my depression didn’t improve.

I honestly feel now that there is always a positive in a negative situation and my daughter and I now have a bond that we never had before. This feeling of always looking on the bright side and finding a positive was reinforced in me when I was walking The Kokoda Trail.

I decided to fundraise for The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, as they are helping save my daughter’s life, but I didn’t know how or where or when. Shortly after being discharged from hospital I was watching Getaway, they were doing a story on The Kokoda Trail by the end of it I knew how I was going to fundraise!

On the 7th August 2006 I flew out to Port Moresby and the next day I was on a bus to Ower’s Corner and my adventure was about to begin. I was very nervous because I suddenly thought I wasn’t fit enough, what if my children needed me, what if Hannah relapses, there were a lot of what if’s running around my head. I wasn’t going quit before I even started and the children world wide needed me to finish, as all the money I was raising was going to the Medical and Research Centre at Westmead. [Read more…]