TAMWORTH woman Ruth Bock and three other women braved the freezing cold, rain and hail last Saturday to raise funds for a disease rampant in the New England area – cystic fibrosis.
They walked from Quirindi to Tamworth as part of the annual 65 Roses Challenge, now in its second year, on behalf of the Cystic Fibrosis NSW organisation.
Mrs Bock said she was “a bit sore” after the walk – but it was all for an excellent cause.
“The Hunter New England area has the highest rate of newly-diagnosed cystic fibrosis babies in Australia, with more than 20 children diagnosed in the past two years,” Mrs Bock said.
“Even though cystic fibrosis is a recessive genetic disease, 80 per cent of families have no family history.
“The whole family’s lives are turned upside-down, with daily medications, regular specialist check-ups and hospital admissions becoming a reality.”
She said there was no cure – yet.
“Life expectancy is about 37 – a lung transplant can extend it by about eight to 10 years,” Mrs Bock said.
She said during the mammoth walk, the team battled the elements “with great difficulty, actually – we just kept on walking.
“We stayed in Quirindi on Friday night and we woke up at 3 o’clock and it was pouring with rain.
“We were due to leave at 4am – and the rain stopped at 4.”
The team started on time and finished at the Post Office Hotel in Tamworth 14 hours later.
Funds raised will go towards outreach services to the area, including specialist clinics from John Hunter Hospital, a support officer who will run education and information workshops, and emergency financial
assistance for equipment, parts, supplements and medical bills.
“We would like to thank former federal member for New England Tony Windsor and his wife Lyn, who joined the team into Werris Creek, and also The Cafe on Single in Werris Creek and The Currabubula Hotel, who let us thaw out and rejuvenate with some hot food,” Mrs Bock said.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson also joined the team for the last seven kilometres into Tamworth.
“It has to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life – but it was worth it. We raised just over $12,000 so far but, more importantly, there are a lot more people in the area who know about cystic fibrosis now,” Mrs Bock said.
Donations can be made to the team until May 31 via the website: www.nsw65challenge.everydayhero.com/au/65k465roses
A raffle will also be drawn at a garage sale next Saturday at 12 Burilla St, Tamworth from 8am to add to the funds.