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Girl's brain cancer battle inspires walk around Australia

LONG WALK: Jimmy Harrington on the Bruce Hwy near Curra is on a round Australia trek to raise money for cancer.
LONG WALK: Jimmy Harrington on the Bruce Hwy near Curra is on a round Australia trek to raise money for cancer. Craig Warhurst

SOME may call him crazy, others brave, but Jimmy Harrington is walking around Australia to save lives.

After meeting a young girl named Emily, who lost her battle with brain cancer, Jimmy decided he needed to make a difference.

The constant smile on Emily's face, even during her cancer fight, was what inspired him to make a change.

"I wasn't heavily involved with charity work, although I did the World's Greatest Shave," he said.

"Emily really sparked a change."

The trip around Australia is raising money and awareness for the Brainchild Foundation, which helps children suffering with brain cancer.

Theft and an ingrown toenail have been the only major hiccups on the trip so far.

"We've had a lot of support and people donating money, so it's been great," he said.

"I was in Halls Creek in Western Australia when the van was broken into and $1500 worth of gear was stolen.

"Around the same time I was dealing with an ingrown toenail I had to have operated on, but I was up and walking again in a few days."

Jimmy, who stopped at Nelson Reserve yesterday afternoon while passing through Gympie, said heat was no longer a major factor he had to contend with. Having walked across the top of Australia in recent months, yesterday's 38-degree heat gave him little to worry about.

When asked whether he takes days off, he said "no".

"Kids with cancer don't get days off."

Getting to meet people doing similar endeavours has been a trip highlight so far.

Jimmy met Samuel Johnson - who is unicycling around Australia to raise money for breast cancer - and an elderly couple running around Australia to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Jimmy started his journey on May 19 last year and the trip is expected to take more than 18 months to complete.

To support Jimmy's cause, go to the website, www.jimmyswalkforcancer.com.

THE TRIP

Jimmy started May 19, last year.

He walks an average of 50km a day.

Total journey is 16,000km.

More than $69,000 has been raised so far.

His goal is $300,000.

He will be the youngest person to walk around Australia.

Topics:  cancer fundraiser

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