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2020 National team

Meet our amazing 777 National Team 2020. These inspiring individuals hail from various corners of Australia and each has a unique story as to why they are set to take on the ultimate test of endurance – 7 marathons, in 7 days, across 7 states!

Jenny Beveridge

QLD

My name is Jenny Beveridge, my vision for living this blessed life is to help people on their path to being their best selves. I am married to my wonderful husband Adam and have a beautiful 7 year-old daughter Violet who both have taught me so much about love.

As coaching and fitness and health have also been my passion I have coached Sport aerobics for 20 years and I absolutely adore working with kids and playing a part in developing their confidence and strength. I was heartbroken to hear of how many kids experience sexual assault and working with them on a daily basis made me realise this could happen to anyone of them. Kids, of course, are our future and taking that sense of self away from them is horrifying to me.

I love to run marathons, I love to run full stop. So what better reason to run than for Bravehearts who are really making a difference to provide preventative education and training programs to help make the world a safer place.  It also helps the survivors of child sexual assault and their families have the support they need to move forward.

It is easy to feel helpless in situations and struggle to know what to do to help. This is the opportunity to help. These kids need us their families need us and if there is anything I can do to prevent this from happening to a child or help a child through it, I’m on board.

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Laura Cascarino

NSW

My name is Laura Cascarino, I am 25 years old and from the Camden area in NSW. I have always been passionate about health and fitness, which lead me to study Sport and Exercise Science at University.

On the weekends, I enjoy travelling the coastline with my partner fishing, hiking and enjoying the sun. Although enjoying the gym and going almost every day if I can, I focus mostly on weight lifting and high-intensity interval classes, so running is not my friend! The furthest I have run in the past has only been 10kms! So what I am about to do is going to be a massive challenge both physically and mentally. But I wanted to put my hobby towards doing something good, that was going to make a difference to other people’s lives, which is what lead me to Bravehearts.

I decided to take part in the Bravehearts 777 Marathon in 2020 because of the awareness it brings to child sexual assault, strategies to avoid it and what Braveheart’s does for those who have been victim to these acts in the past. I have three nephews and a niece, and the thought of them being in danger or harm terrifies me. Not only this, when I have children in the future, I hope I can feel comfortable and trust that wherever they may be, they are safe to play, grown and learn whether at schools, in parks or online.

Though the mental and physical challenge of doing these marathons is going to be tough, it will be nothing compared to those who fall victim to child sexual assault. Having young children in my life makes it my duty to invest in their protection and safety in whatever way possible. Children are the world’s most valuable resource and if we don’t stand up for them and give them a voice, we don’t stand for much. They are our future and I want them to be as lucky as I am to experience a happy and safe life in their home and schools, no matter who they are with.

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Katie Davies

NSW

My name is Katie Davies and I am 44 years old. Originally from Kent in England, I moved to Wollongong after University in 1996. I have a wonderful husband and four amazing children aged from eight to 19. I have a passion for netball and running (even though I look like I am going backwards sometimes), but my real passion is to keep the community a safe place for my children and ALL children to live and enjoy a fun, happy and memorable childhood.

I work full-time for Itree; a software Solutions organisation based at the UOW Innovation Campus, in the position of Head of Culture and People. I found out about Bravehearts when my organisation started working on a software solution called REACH. REACH is a technology solution that enables State and Territory child protection agencies to ‘reach out’ for rapid and secure record matching across multiple systems, to better support critical aspects of the decision-making processes needed to keep families safe.

In November 2019, Itree was extremely proud to announce a long-term partnership with State, Territory and Federal governments across Australia in a united approach to address the devastating impacts of abuse to children, those most vulnerable in our communities.

I have chosen this challenge of fundraising for Bravehearts as it is Australia’s leading child protection organisation dedicated to holistically preventing child sexual assault – a crime that affects 1 in 5 children. Their vision is to make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child…..and I want to help them achieve this goal. Please help me protect our kids!

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Laura Firth

WA

My name is Laura. I’m a wife, a mother, a runner, a fitness instructor!

I want people to stand up, be aware, be educated, and all work together to protect children.

After being removed from my birth home at the age of 4 I was placed into foster homes until the age of 9.

To say I had a rough start could be an understatement. At 9 I was adopted. They showed me love, gave me strength and provided me with safety. Something all children need. But I’m not running the 777 for me. I’m running the 777 for all the children out there who need someone to be their love, strength, and safety.

I’m running it so that adults will take notice of this crime, and do what they can to ensure they are educated. I’m asking you to help me do this. To help make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child. To do your bit to ensure that children are protected for child sexual assault.

To know that 1 in 5 children will be sexually harmed in some way before the age of 18 is mind-blowingly sad. To know that there is something I can do to help – something YOU can do to help, well that’s a gift.

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Phoebe Herring

NSW

Running hasn’t always been my thing. Actually, I still wouldn’t class myself as a ‘runner’. To be honest, I kind of stumbled across it when I was going through some hard times in my life. In a time when everything felt incredibly complex, there was something calming about the simplicity of running. It certainly got me through a lot of dark days, and now it’s a big part of self-care for me.

It was around that time I first heard about Bravehearts, their 777 Marathon series and the work they do to help provide support and education around the issue of childhood sexual assault.
In 2017 I ran my first marathon as a state runner for Bravehearts and it was a game-changer. It gave me something bigger to run for, and I was so proud to be running for an organization that tackled an issue that is close to my heart. As a result, I returned again in 2018 & 2019. Now in 2020 I will be joining the Bravehearts 777 marathon series as a National runner to complete a massive 7 marathons in 7 states in 7 days.

I get a lot of people ask why I’m doing this, and I guess in a lot of ways, I see this event as representative of what the path for survivors often looks like as they navigate through the trauma of childhood sexual assault – it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and it can be incredibly grueling at times.

So I embark upon these marathons as a tribute to the 1 in 5 Aussie kids who experience childhood sexual assault, with the greatest hope that the funds and awareness raised may help make the path a little easier for a child and their family, or that through the education Bravehearts provides it may prevent another from ever having to navigate it.

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Brian Jackson

WA

My name is Brian Jackson I’m 52 years old, married to my beautiful wife Paula and live in Perth Western Australia. We are blessed with a family of our own and it breaks our hearts when we hear of children whose lives have been devastated by sexual assault.

It is reassuring to know that there is an organisation such as Bravehearts to provide advice and support to those affected by child sexual assault. Fundraising for Braveheart’s to support their work my wife and I hope we can make a difference and maybe bring a smile and some love perhaps to help rebuild a little one’s life.

On the first weekend in July 2020 I will participate in the 777 Marathon running 7 Full Marathons (of 42.195km distance each) in 7 States in 7 Days. By far my biggest physical and mental challenge to date. The rewards will be huge not just for me. Pushing yourself to physical extremes is made that much easier when you have such a special reason.

It will be tough with highs and lows but what will get me through is the knowledge that my small sacrifice may somehow help Bravehearts keep our little ones safe and happy.

I have always loved running and have completed 55 plus marathons and 15 or so Ultra Marathons but never anything as hard as this.

I have set a fundraising target of $10,000 and above! If you could help me reach this target please contact me to discuss how I could work with you to achieve this. One such opportunity is through my involvement in Jet Sprint Racing in Perth Western Australia as a racer and volunteer.

Below is a hyperlink to my official fundraising page where donations can be made and to the main page for the 777 Marathon. I will also be posting regular updates on my fundraising and training on my Facebook page @insideOutBriansHealthHappinessWeightlossJourney

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Dianne Jordan

QLD

I am Dianne Jordan. I am a wife, dedicated mother, student paramedic and runner-in-training. I am also one of the 1 in 5 Australian kids who have been sexually assaulted.

More than 59,000 Aussie kids will experience some form of sexual harm in the next 12 months. To put that in perspective a child is sexually harmed in some way every two hours in Australia. I want to use my story to help those who have no voice and to give hope to my fellow survivors that they can heal and are not alone.

I have been with my devoted husband Alan for six years. We have been blessed with an amazing boy Hamish who is two and a half. Without the support of my family and friends I would not be the survivor I am today.

I believe that every child has the right to feel safe, confident and free from the terrible consequences of child sexual assault. I lost that privilege and I grew up in a world of shame, guilt and loneliness. It is my mission to breakdown the stigmas that are associated with child sexual assault and keep the conversation going about prevention. The sad reality is that child sexual assault is not going away, however the more we discuss this in a public forum the more we are able to remove the stigma.

Quite often we feel helpless about situations that we can’t fix or prevent. Take this as an opportunity to do something about child sexual assault. Any chance we have to try to make the world a safer place for kids is worthy of our best efforts. Your donation will change and save lives. Your donation will allow Bravehearts to provide preventative education and training programs. Funds also go towards supporting survivors of child sexual assault (including children and their protective family members and adult survivors) via Bravehearts specialist counselling services.

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Peter Mahoney

VIC

My Name is Peter Mahoney and I’m 58 years old. Many times I tried to begin this.

The secret carried since childhood drives me now. My father was a very violent abusive alcoholic, along with the violence shared by my mother and siblings, unfortunately for me, there was more. I’m stating this not for sympathy its just the facts and leads into why I’m so very keen to support Bravehearts.

I was so very lucky to have an amazingly strong loving mum who got us kids through those years but there was no support, no one outside our home knew. That’s why the school programs delivered by Bravehearts to me are so very important. If kids can be shown it’s ok to speak to empower them not to be victims we can change the futures of not only the kids, but entire families. Again this is not about sympathy or looking back.

I’m the luckiest man in the world, I know too many here in Ballarat who couldn’t carry the burden and taken their own lives but here I am having been a father and then a single dad to five kids since they were aged 11 to 17, two boys and three girls. Now my youngest is 24yr and I have eight magnificent grandchildren.

They are proud that I’m doing the 777 again and so yes I can run, that’s the easy part. The hard part is asking for financial support. There are so many worthy causes out there, you can’t get behind all of them. I very much understand that and only ask for your consideration here to help me get behind Bravehearts and help protect the most precious in our community, the kids.

So when people ask me why my answer is quite simple. If we can help even one child it’s all been so worth it.

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Fenix Maiorana

VIC

Fenix Maiorana is the first to admit he is not an athlete and yet he is preparing to take on the mammoth task of the Bravehearts’ 777 Marathon challenge, which will see him run 7 marathons over 7 days in 7 states.

Bravehearts is a cause very close to Fenix’s heart.

“I experienced ongoing sexual assault from the age of five into adulthood,” he says.

“It affected every aspect of my life in ways you can’t imagine. Being sexually assaulted, groomed and conditioned from a young age to keep quiet about what was happening to me left me with post-traumatic stress syndrome, major depression, and anxiety,” Fenix says.

“For me, because the abuse started at such a young age, I was confused about what the role of adults was. The effects of grooming emotionally stunted me, for sure. I had basically been brainwashed to think it was my fault.”

Growing up in the Sunraysia area, Fenix, who was born with the name Luke, relocated to Melbourne at the age of 17.

“I just kind of wandered through that stage of my life in a bit of a daze,” he says.

“I hadn’t told anyone about what was happening to me, so I was carrying around all sorts of debilitating feelings of shame, guilt, confusion and the need to overachieve. I couldn’t settle down, I jumped from job to job. I felt like I just couldn’t find my place in the world, no matter how hard I tried. It was a pretty dark time in my life and I was on a downward spiral.”

Fenix made the decision to break his silence three years ago and says he hasn’t looked back.

“I know 100% that speaking up was the right thing to do,” he says.

“It was time for me to stop carrying the burden and open up to the people in my life who love me and care about my welfare.”

With the support of his family and friends, Fenix sought professional help to deal with the trauma he had suffered and its impact.

“I started seeing a counsellor, which taught me to process my emotions in a healthy way,” he says.

“Knowledge is power, and the more informed you are, the more you take your power back into your own hands. Since starting counselling, I’ve learned a lot, in particular, that I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to be.”

support Fenix’s journey here

Megan McGinty

TAS

First and foremost I am a mother. My partner Gavin Pearce and I have our beautiful girl Isla who is five and Hamish (who’s mum passed away when he was 8) who is 17. We live in the small country town of Lapoinya on the NW Coast of Tasmania. I want the best for them as any parent does for their child. My family and I are lucky enough to grow up in a safe and loving family but unfortunately, that is not always the case. Current statistics show 1 in 5 children are sexually assaulted before their 15th Birthday.

I am a quiet Australian who works as a Financial Analyst to provide for my family, I have dreams and aspirations outside of work-life, to help my community and our children who are the future of this country. In both 2016 and 2017 I worked alongside Bravehearts to raise much-needed funds for their ‘Ditto’ education program. I am once again working alongside Bravehearts to raise much needed funds. As Australia’s leading Child Protection organisation we need to ensure they have the funds to support those affected by child sexual assault.

My family and friends would describe me as easy-going, organised, honest, determined, chocolate lover, funny and dedicated to my family. They definitely wouldn’t use and words relating to runner or fitness.

You may be asking yourself why am I doing this and believe me it has nothing to do with enjoyment of running, I personally don’t enjoy running, yes it is good for me and keeps me fit and healthy but sitting on the couch watch TV eating chocolate is more my type of enjoyment J but that won’t help Bravehearts or the children of our country. I am competing in Braveheart 777 for the third year to make Australia the safest place to raise a child.

Every child in Australia needs to have access to the Bravehearts “Ditto” program. I know of a school that ran the Ditto program and the very next day 2 children from that school disclosed they had been sexually abused, If the program hadn’t gone to their school how long would off they carried that on their shoulders alone before telling someone, they will always carry it on their shoulders but thanks to Bravehearts they are now getting help to get them through.

I hope in taking on this challenge I can raise more awareness and funds to protect our children from sexual assault. By giving what you can and spreading the message we can help children all over Australia.

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Jess Peil

NSW

I am a wife, a mother of three, a runner and a creative. I love the places running has taken me over the years. 2018 saw me finish 3rd in my age category in the Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon and complete the Ultra-Trail Australia 100km event in under 20 hours.

Running is something I have done forever, encouraged by my dad to just try my best and never give up.

In 2019, I want to run for those who can’t. For kids who haven’t been able to get away from situations outside their control.

Through my Anytime Fitness and Orangetheory Fitness family, I want to spread more awareness. With over 500,000 members across Australia, we can make a difference in these children’s lives.
Running a marathon is hard, running 7 in a row is harder, but living through fear and abuse is something no one should ever have to endure.

I can’t wait to do these marathons in July and meet the other amazing people on this journey.

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Denis Perry

SA

My name is Denis Perry, I am 42 years old and a father to three daughters, one of which is my partner’s daughter.

With over 10 years of coaching experience in Rowing, Athletics and BMX I have been able to help kids develop skills within the sport but more importantly, skills in life. I have worked with children with disabilities and have always enjoyed competing in events that have been linked to helping people and raising funds.

In 2016 I went to India for my University placement, my role was to teach teachers and students Physical education, while I was there I also coached cricket and umpired AFL. For the month I was there I was exposed to a lot of underprivileged children, a lot of them had been abused at some point in their life. I have always wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.

I am absolutely honoured to be able to raise awareness within the community as well as raising vital funds for this worthwhile charity.

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Ross Scott

ACT

My name is Ross Scott. I am a loving partner, devoted father, a Defence veteran, public servant (still with Defence just not in uniform) and an avid runner.

I have been extremely lucky to have had a humble and loving upbringing in rural Victoria where I felt safe. I had a childhood free of the abuse that so many Australian children are unfortunate enough to experience.

My partner Kirrily and I have a beautiful, fun-loving, confident 10 year-old daughter. The thought of her being anything other than safe and well, terrifies me.

For a number of years now I’ve been taking on road running challenges including Sydney’s iconic City 2 Surf, numerous half marathons and marathons. I recently started in trail ultramarathons completing the Ultra Trail Australia 100 (UTA100) in 2018 and UTA 50 and Canberra 100 in 2019.

Whilst all of these runs have been challenging in their own way I’ve competed to achieve personal goals and for my own satisfaction.

I am a quiet Australian, one of many who just live life going about my own business trying to do the best I can in society. But it was only recently that I was made aware of Bravehearts and the incredible work they do. It was a revelation, a moment in time when I knew I could be doing more for our community and the vulnerable children within it. This was my AH-HA moment.

Having recently turned 50, I have decided I want to run for a cause. I want to run for those who can’t. I want to run for the children who are unable to escape situations outside of their control.

By taking on this challenge I hope to raise awareness and funds to protect our children from sexual assault and exploitation.

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Melissa Searle

VIC

As a proud mother of three young adults, their safety and opportunity to flourish in this world has always been, and will continue to be, my first priority. However, 1 in 5 children do not have this opportunity, nor do they feel they have a voice or feel safe. I believe that WE are the voice of these children and to become part of the Braveheart 777 National Team, taking up this challenge demonstrates my commitment to make a difference, raise awareness and to protect our children from harm.

I am an extremely motivated and passionate person who believes that you can do anything you set your mind to, as life is too short to hold regrets. I continuously strive to be a positive role model for all and educate our children. Successfully completing my Masters in Education at Melbourne University, I am currently in an acting Assistant Principal position focussing on Student Wellbeing and Inclusion.

I am also a facilitator of the Resilience, Rights & Respectful Relationships Curriculum in schools for our district. I have also taken a lead role in the implementation of this program in my current Lead school, Movelle Primary. This program promotes and models respect, positive attitudes and behaviours. It teaches our children how to build healthy relationships, resilience and confidence. As a teacher, I understand that it is vital that we teach our children how to socially and emotionally succeed in a world of challenges. They need to know that they have a voice and that we are here to provide assurance that they are not alone. Braveheart’s give our children this protection. Our Children are Our Future!

All my life I have been a ‘runner’, early days, I ran competitively having the absolute privilege of racing against Cathy Freeman and Melinda Gainsford- Taylor. Since those days, my running has taken on a dramatic change, as after children, my running became more endurance based, giving ‘mental me’ time, and a time for reflection. Today, I am an accredited running coach, personal trainer and CrossFit Coach, where I love using my knowledge to help both our children and adults. I also have many half marathons and Marathons to my name.

Running for me is not about winning the race, it’s about personal achievement, friendships, role modelling and helping others achieve their own personal goals. This love and importance I place into mental wellbeing, fitness and running has also been instilled into my own family. Combining both my passion to run marathons and the opportunity to be a voice of our children with the Braveheart’s foundation, will be both challenging and rewarding. I believe that we have the ability to join together and make a difference. It’s all about the kids!!!

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Stacey Ward

QLD

My name is Stacey, I am in my early 40s and have only been running since 2015. When I started I couldn’t even run 1km which was embarrassing. Since then I have completed many 5k and 10k events as well as a number of halves, a full marathon and even an ultra (50k).

I run both road and trail but have a soft spot for trails even though I have run a lot less of those events so far.

I believe Bravehearts is a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to child sexual abuse. Having worked in the field (and hoping to return soon), I believe that it takes many areas to combat this despicable crime against our most innocent – from law enforcement, to the judicial system, to schools, to the community and finally to our support and educational groups. Everyone can play a part in protecting children.

I have never attempted anything like this but know that I will do myself, my family and friends proud with what I aim to achieve. I WILL run 7 half marathons in 7 States in 7 consecutive days in 2020. Please help me realise this goal by helping me raise $10,000!

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Tracey Wilson

NSW

My Name is Tracey Wilson. I am 45 years old and live in Sydney’s southwest with my husband Jason. We have three grown-up children with the youngest being 19.

I have always been an active person and every year I find a new challenge to do.
The Bravehearts 777 marathon will give me the ultimate challenge testing me both physically and mentally. It will be hard work but it will be nothing compared to the hard work that Bravehearts put in to help look after Aussie Kids.

It’s an honour to be raising funds and awareness for this worthwhile charity.

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