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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!

Monique Ashley

QLD

My name is Monique Ashley and I am one of the 1 in 5 Australian children who have been sexually assaulted.

I am 33 years old and live on the Gold Coast with my partner and our two precious British Bulldogs, Audrey and Alfie.

In late June I will be taking on the Bravehearts 777, 7x 21km runs, across 7 states, in 7 consecutive days to help raise awareness of and prevent child sexual assault.

In addition to all this running, I have also pledged to raise $10,000! And I am absolutely ecstatic to announce that I am already over halfway there. Your awareness and contribution to Bravehearts really does make a difference.

Your donation will not only assist me through my journey but will help fund a child through Bravehearts’ personal safety program in schools.

Having been personally affected by child sexual abuse – a secret I have lived with for most of my life – drives me to push my physical limits and take on this challenge to help make a difference.

I have chosen to share my story to raise awareness of child sexual assault, a  topic that is not often spoken about, making it a taboo topic, creating stigma, shame and guilt.

Every child deserves the right to speak and to be heard without the fear of not being believed. Every child also deserves the right to feel safe, confident and free from the awful consequences of child sexual assault.

I want to be the difference; to make a difference. To make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child. To educate, empower and protect.

support my journey here

Jenny Beveridge & Kerry Fitzgibbon

QLD

We are Jen and Kerry. After experiencing the 777 in 2019, it changed our view on why we run marathons and how running for such an amazing foundation could really shift our mindset.

I was heartbroken to hear of how many kids experience sexual assault.

Working with children on a daily basis as a sport aerobics coach and fitness trainer made me realise this could happen to any one of them. Kids, of course, are our future and taking that sense of self away from them is horrifying to me.

Both Kerry and I love to run marathons, so to run for Bravehearts who are really making a difference to provide preventative education and training programs to help make the world a safer place is a no brainer to us.

This year we want to do more! We are going to add on three marathons in the three days prior to the 777 to raise more awareness and work that bit harder to keep our kids safe.

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.

We were so grateful for the way people came together in 2019 to support this incredible foundation and we are super excited to be here again. Thank  you so much for your support.

support our journey here

Steph Brown

NSW

Hi my name is Steph, and here I am back for round two. Last year I was brave and strong enough to compete in the 777 Marathon raising funds and awareness for Bravehearts. That week changed my life!! There were times I doubted I could finish, but through all the throbbing pains and aching blisters I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and completed all 7 marathons, in 7 consecutive days, in 7 states. So here I am again training and preparing to do it all again in July 2020.

Running is not just a fitness activity for me, it’s addictive and for me it’s a way of life. Running allows me to relieve stress from my hectic days, but is also a great way to keep fit with my friends and family. Each time my feet hit the pavement I feel strong and empowered, which allows me to strive to achieve my next goal. The biggest reason running is a huge part of my life is because I can run, so why not keep using my running for a cause.

Bravehearts’ mission is to educate, empower and protect. To be successful Bravehearts needs our help to raise money and awareness for what they do to be able to reach as many people as they can.

Children are the future; we need to protect our future. I have been fortunate enough to have not needed the help and support from an organization such as Bravehearts. But after hearing Ian & Kayleen’s story I now have a deep passion to be able to use my running to be able to help people who need it.

Many people ask why I would be crazy enough to enter the 777 Marathon event. Well if running 7 marathons is what it takes for people to stand up and notice this great organisation, for people to stand behind them to make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child, then I will run proudly the 777 again in July 2020.

Support my journey here

Stewart Carter

VIC

Hi, my name is Stew. Late last year I committed to run the Bravehearts 777 Marathon in June 2020… seven marathons, seven consecutive days across seven states and raise $10,000 before I cross the start line in Perth.

Devastatingly, 1 in 5 children will be sexually abused before they turn 18. That is 20% of kids in our community will have their innocence stolen, their trust betrayed and sadly too often, will have their story ignored. I was one of the 20%.

I am running to help raise awareness, fight the apathy in our community, to re-write the narrative and to help generate much-needed funds that will allow Bravehearts to continue to educate, empower and protect our kids. Equally, I want to show my beautiful little girl, Maddie and my partner’s daughter Ella that no matter the challenge, it is possible when you put your mind to it; and that a worthwhile cause is deserving of our toil.

Support my journey here

Ellen Carydias

QLD

My name is Ellen Carydias and as a Registered Nurse I have worked in acute care areas including Accident and Emergency and Perioperative departments, as well as Mental Health departments. In each area I have witnessed firsthand the physical and mental trauma suffered by survivors of child sexual assault and exploitation. I have also witnessed the lives of family members and close friends being completely upturned as a result of child sexual assault and what is most evident is that the trauma is often lifelong.

To gain a better understanding of the mental health issues associated with such trauma I decided to return to university and have since gained a Bachelor of Psychology with Honours. Throughout my studies and my practice as a Registered Nurse I have required the assistance from community-based organisations who are able to provide me with relevant clinical data or provide ongoing community care for my patients. One such organisation is Bravehearts.

I have made it my career to care for and protect the health and wellbeing of our community, a community in which I want my own two young children to be a part of, knowing that they are safe and are able to grow without fear of sexual assault or abuse. Bravehearts shares this philosophy and it is why I have decided to participate in their upcoming 777 Marathon to raise much-needed funds to protect our children.

Being able to combine my passion for health and running is an exciting prospect. I am a ‘mindful runner’, I chose not to listen to music or chat with other runners, when I am out on the track I tune in to my body, my breathing and my thoughts. I become an observer of the transient nature of thoughts and feelings and by the time I’ve completed my run I feel invigorated.

Taking on Bravehearts’ 777 Marathon will be a new challenge for me physically and mentally. This event will not be about my running performance but my personal achievement in raising awareness about the ongoing issue of child sexual assault and support the amazing work that Bravehearts are doing for our children. I hope to share my 777 Marathon journey with family and friends and empower others to join the fight.

support my journey here

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.

support my journey here

Jade Cranton

VIC

After a friend shared her little one’s story with me, as a mum, a woman, a human, my heart broke and I knew that I had to do something, something to support her, support her little one, support all children and those that share a similar story. Learning the stats, learning that 1 in 5 children will share the same story, with many never finding their voice and fearing they would not be believed left me in disbelief and horror.

But I am only one person, what could I do?

I was never an athletic child, in fact, my mum would sign me out of cross-country as I didn’t want to walk it let alone run it. A friend completed the 2011 Melbourne Marathon half marathon, I was in awe that she had run 21.1km, to me that was bucket list kinda stuff, so I decided that next year I would return and complete the half marathon also. In 2012 I started running for the first time and did return to the Melbourne Marathon, completing my first full marathon, 42.2kms.

Since completing my first marathon I have been fortunate enough to complete many marathons across Australia and overseas, I have run a number of 50km events and in 2017 completed a 100km event. My most memorable events are those that I have shared with mates, running their race, completing with them. In 2014 I started a virtual community, Runmum it was a place for me to share my running, the ups and downs with like-minded people, today Runmum is a virtual community full of some of the most supportive people I know.

In distance running the most important and powerful muscle is the one between the ears, the one that many forget to train, the one that will keep your body moving when it hurts, when you want to stop, when you don’t think you can take another step.

This year the Bravehearts 777 marathon will not only be a huge physical challenge to get myself fit and lean for the marathon start line 7 consecutive days but an emotional one as many people that I will be sharing this experience with are running for personal reasons.

I will be running for that little one, running for all children, running to ensure that each child has the support and education to write their own story, and for those who have had paragraphs written for them are supported and empowered to take back the pen and start a new chapter.
We are all Rockstars she tells her little one, some days we don’t want to face the world, sometimes it all seems too much, but we get up, we turn up and we take centre stage like Rockstars!

I believe that together we can make a difference, together we WILL make a difference.

support my journey here

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!

Support my journey here

Adam Engel

QLD

Every day people do everyday things, but I don’t regard myself as an everyday person. I’m motivated to not live an everyday life. I love a challenge and for me completing seven marathons in seven states in seven days is right up there as not only an ultimate physical challenge but mental challenge.

I am a driven person who has a ‘curious’ outlook on life. Curious as to where my mind and my body can take me. I am driven to be the best dad I can be. This to me means not just being there for them but setting a positive example and inspiring them so they can be great in whatever they want to do.

As a teacher, I work with kids every day, and there are few things in this world that tug on my emotions more than seeing kids in need. Bravehearts’ Mission is to prevent child sexual assault and exploitation in our society with a Vision to make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child. I am fortunate to have not had to personally endure anything these kids have had to but I want to help raise awareness and assist Bravehearts to ensure this doesn’t happen to children anymore.

I love the sport of triathlon and it’s fair to say that in my time in the sport, I have been attracted to the longer and harder races on offer. I am fortunate that my body allows me to fulfill my enjoyment of triathlon and running. Triathlon and running keep me mentally fresh and happy while also physically fit so I feel it is only right to use this capability to assist Bravehearts.

support my journey here

 

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.

Support my journey here

Tracey Gallagher

NSW

My name is Tracey Gallagher, and I am absolutely not a runner! I am a 37 year old wife and mother of two, a self-confessed F45 lover and a netball player. I have only started loving fitness in the past three years, after meeting my amazing coach who taught me to believe in myself and to enjoy pushing my body to limits I never thought possible. The Bravehearts 777 is no exception – the mental and physical demands will be something I’ve never experienced before but being able to help children and their families is worth every step. I have only started running in the past few months, but so far, I’ve found it enjoyable and a fun challenge!

I’ve been working in the Early Childhood profession for 21 years and knowing the statistics of children who have been abused. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to help when my beautiful friend Katie suggested we run the Bravehearts777 together. I was raised by two amazing parents who have always supported me in anything I set my mind to, so it was an easy decision to sign up to help make a difference in the lives of others.

By taking on this challenge I hope to raise awareness and funds for children who have been victims of sexual abuse and their families.

support my journey here

Chris Glacken

SA

After previously using my running to help fund a cure for cancer with the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) (which still continues on a smaller scale), I’m now focused on assisting Bravehearts to protect our Aussie kids from sexual assault.

As such I’m just reflecting on the fact that I’m about to embark on my 6th year of the Bravehearts 777.

The first year as a state runner in 2015 and the last 4 as a national runner.

The 777 is a national challenge to help protect Aussie kids. The concept is to run 7 official 42.195km marathons in 7 days, across 7 states.

Marathons are run in Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Launceston, Sydney and finish with the official Gold Coast marathon on the sunny Gold Coast.

The concept would hopefully see the state runners enjoy their time and in turn become national runners in future years.

A lot of extreme hard work goes into fundraising for this journey. I have tried my best to raise not only funds but the greater needed awareness to the crime of child sexual assault here in South Australia. CSA is real, it happens and it needs to stop and be correctly addressed in our courts.

Through our “coastalfunruns” series of running events, we are slowly lifting the profile of Bravehearts in South Australia. I’m proud of what we have achieved together through our “team BRAVERUNNER” group but the mission has only just begun and there is a lot of future hard work and effort needed.

We’ve brought a team together to raise awareness, raise funds and raise the Bravehearts profile.

Taking big steps to help little people.

“Individually we are one drop, but together we are an ocean” Effective teamwork is vital to continue our work.

As a grandfather of 2 grandchildren, I want them to enjoy life and grow up in a safe environment.

I have previously ran 229 official marathons around Australia with my 100th and most memorable marathon being day one of the 2017 777 series in Perth where I crossed the finish line with legendary Bravehearts runner Dani McLaren.

Looking forward to meeting all the new runners in another exciting 777 campaign in June.

support my journey here

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.

support my journey here

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

support my journey here

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.

Support my journey here

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.

support my journey here

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.

support my journey here

Jess Peil

NSW

Welcome to my marathon running journey. This is not only about the runs but also about the purpose. People think us National runners, running 7 marathons in 7 states in 7 days are a little nuts, we sure are! But it starts the conversation about the reason behind our journey.

Running for Bravehearts has given me such strength to make a change for Australia’s children. Running the 7 marathons in 2019 changed my life and made me discover my reason for being. Child sexual assault is not ok, I won’t stop until it is stamped out. I would love your support on this adventure.

support my journey here

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.

support my journey here

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.

support my journey here

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!!!

support my journey here

Guy Walters

QLD

I am a committed father of two beautiful children and recently discovered that perhaps Australia isn’t the safe haven for our children that I had always believed. While I was aware that child abuse does occur, I was staggered to learn that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys in Australia have experienced some form of child sexual assault. This shocking statistic alone has motivated and inspired me to join Bravehearts Mission to prevent child sexual assault and exploitation in Australia by raising vitally required funds that will help to make Australia a safer place to raise children.

I have always been interested in sport and particularly running. Running for me is about challenging myself and pushing the limits of my capabilities to see what I can achieve if I put my mind to it. I am continually fascinated by what the human body can do and how far it can be pushed.

For the last 2 years I have completed Parkrun each Saturday morning with my daughter Ellie, which has not only contributed to her interest in running and being active, but has allowed us time to spend together doing something that we both enjoy. I recognise that not all children enjoy such a relationship with their parents and carers and this is something that I am passionate about changing, ensuring that children have a safe and supportive home life.

Over the past 5 years I have competed in many events that have pushed me to breaking point and I consider that the Bravehearts 777 will be my biggest challenge yet. This challenge will involve running 7 marathons in 7 consecutive days in 7 states. To me, the struggle and potential pain of the epic task ahead of me is nothing compared to what an alarming number of children endure on a daily basis.

With your support, I would love to demonstrate how we can each take small steps together to achieve a greater good, in this case, Bravehearts Mission of preventing child sexual assault and making Australia the safest place in the world to raise children.

My task is to complete these 7 marathons one step at a time, and I invite you to help support me in my mission to support Bravehearts and their tireless work by taking one small step and donating today towards this worthy cause.

During the 7 day challenge, I will complete approximately 295,500 steps and I aim to raise $10,000 which equates to 3 cents per step taken. By sponsoring me you will not only assist in facilitating my journey to complete 7 marathons but also provide me with the encouragement and support that I require to complete this task.

Each step taken on this journey is a step taken towards assisting in the fight against child abuse in Australia and I encourage you to join me by making a financial contribution to Bravehearts.

  • By sponsoring 400 steps ($12) you will help provide a child’s access to Bravehearts personal safety program
  • By sponsoring 2,500 ($75) you will provide phone counselling service
  • By sponsoring 5,000 steps ($150) you will provide valuable face to face counselling

Child sexual assault and exploitation is a preventable crime and by supporting Bravehearts in their Mission to educate, empower and support children we can ensure that Australia becomes the safest place to raise our kids.

support my journey here

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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Gareth Williams

WA

My name is Gareth Williams. I’m married with four children and I work for Alinta Energy. I first took up running in 2017 with my wife, having not really ran since 1994, with an aim to lose weight and get fit. I was 120kg and managed to get to 70kg within 6 months. We used the ‘Couch to 5k’ app to help us get to 5km. By August 2018, we were getting as far as 12km. Then in November 2018, we did our first half marathon and made a goal to do a full marathon in 2019. In 2019, we joined the WA Marathon Club as a family and participated in events. I participated in the Perth 2019 777 Marathon with a colleague from work who persuaded me it would be a good way to attempt our first marathon. My youngest son Oscar (16) ran with us too and completed the full 42.2km. I have since completed two more marathons. I have been wanting to volunteer and give something back to the community and my brief encounter with Bravehearts in July 2019 inspired me to step up and get more involved, so I’m registering for the national series.

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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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Stuart Wise

ACT

Running 7 marathons in 7 states in 7 days and raising funds for a great cause; how could anyone say no to that?

I’m in for the first part, but I need your help for the second part, raising $10,000 for Bravehearts – Australia’s leading child protection organisation working to prevent child sexual assault.
‘But why….seriously?’ – I get this question a lot. My response is simple ‘Why not?’. I’m up for a challenge, though this will be the biggest physical and mental challenge I have ever done; the ultimate test. Family and friends think I’m mad, so that’s all the motivation I need.

I have been running for nearly 20 years, and my long-distance running started after a bet between workmates, with the stakes of having to run a marathon. Whilst I didn’t lose that bet, I decided to join in on the challenge, and haven’t looked back since.

Everyone knows running has lots of physical benefits – it keeps you active, healthy, and strong; although post run my body often tells me otherwise! However it’s the mental aspects of running that keep me coming back, there is nothing better than that runner’s high. And research also says that running improves your memory and makes you smarter; so I’m hanging on to that!

Bravehearts is such a fantastic organisation. There are not many more worthwhile causes than helping educate, empower and protect kids against sexual abuse, and help those that have unfortunately experienced it. Please help support these kids; it will change their lives.

support my journey here

Dear valued clients,

The health, safety and wellbeing of our clients is, and always has been Bravehearts highest priority. The situation regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) locally and around the world is changing daily. Considering the latest government directives in response to COVID-19, and in looking forward as far as is possible, we are making changes to the way we deliver our support services. Bravehearts have moved to a position of contactless service delivery. All regular sessions and support services will now be conducted via telephone and our E-Health platform.

Bravehearts will continue to provide counselling and support services to all existing and new clients.  

The decision to proceed in this way has been made to safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of our clients, staff and that of the community. The service changes are temporary. We will advise you of further changes.

We continue to accept and action new referrals for all services. Anyone wanting to access our services can call Bravehearts on 1800 272 831. People can still be referred, by calling, or by filling out an online referral form. We anticipate having a significant online and telephone capability to support clients and the community through this time.

If you have any questions about the changes outlined above, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We appreciate your understanding during this uncertain time.