Support group wants cancer to take a hike
RICHARD Butt has climbed mountains for fun, but the biggest hurdle of his life was overcoming blood cancer in a two-year battle.
He has jumped that hurdle with the support of wife Heinke, many friends, fellow cancer patients and the Leukaemia Foundation.
After months of commuting for treatment and short-term accommodation in Brisbane, he can now enjoy his Mary Valley farm in good health.
The experience left him wanting to give something back to the sector, which receives no direct government support, and Unplugged - Hike for Life was born.
The hike kicked off this week, with a group of 10 participants walking the 65km Cradle Mountain Overland track in Tasmania.
The group, also known as Unplugged, are leukaemia bone marrow transplant survivors, carers, a physiotherapist (also a survivor) as well as a film and camera crew who will capture the hike on film to create a motivational documentary record for those recently diagnosed, their families and to continue to bring awareness via the many media streams.
Heinke Butt said being diagnosed with leukaemia and facing the prospect of undertaking a bone marrow transplant was a scary prospect for Richard, and so many like him.
"You really don't know what life is going to be like post the procedure,” she said.
"So this group of transplant recipients has decided to not let their past get in the way of having a bright future.”
Unplugged was formed to provide hope for survivors of bone marrow transplants.
"There truly is a life after transplant,” Heinke said.
"The group aims, amongst many things, is to promote the well-being of survivors and their carers, raise awareness of the bone marrow registry and raise vital funds for the Leukaemia Foundation, who support patients and families through their treatments.”
Blood cancer is the third biggest cause of death in Queensland and Australia, and many who are diagnosed with leukaemia require a bone marrow transplant.
"In Australia awareness of how simple it is for individuals to register to be a bone marrow donor is extremely low,” Heinke said.
"The great thing about donating your life saving cells to a bone marrow transplant recipient, is that it is as simple as a blood transfusion.
"No invasive surgery is required, and you can help someone in need whilst still being alive.
"In addition to raising funds for the Leukaemia Foundation, Unplugged is seeking donations to support the funding of the hikers as well as the making of a motivational documentary record for those recently diagnosed, their families and to continue to bring awareness via the many media streams.”
Visit my.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/unplugged or follow/donate on Facebook: www.facebook.com/unpluggedhikeforlife/