Historic trek around Australia sparks life-saving conversation
Published: 24 July 2019
A Townsville Hospital duo will follow in Peter Brock’s famous footsteps this month, taking on a historically gruelling 28-day trek to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation.
Townsville Hospital organ donation specialist Rhonda Farley, and husband Tony, will be competing in the 1979 REPCO Reliability Trial’s 40th Anniversary, with the original course described as, ‘a two-week hell trek of around 20,000 kilometres around Australia’.
“Fifty historic cars will set off from the Melbourne Showground and head clockwise around Australia for 28 days, with special stages and visits to many of the original destinations and roads as the 1979 course,” Rhonda said.
“Tony and I will complete the trek in our 1973 LJ Torana, which, as passionate car enthusiasts, is a huge dream come true.
“We have the DonateLife logo displayed on the rear window of our Torana and hope that in each place we go to we can spark a conversation and hopefully save lives all over Australia.”
Rhonda said she looked forward to the various challenges that the retrial would present.
“The retrial rules state that our cars cannot be newer than 1980; so no modern comforts for us,” Rhonda said.
“During the original race, only 13 cars completed the entire course out of 167 starters, so we hope that with this one we will have many more cross the finish line with their beautifully restored vehicles hopefully still intact.”
Rhonda said the importance of the trip was bolstered by the message she hoped to spread.
“I’m passionate about organ and tissue donation and love working in the sector,” Rhonda said.
“The thing that touches me the most about donation is the humanity involved; I see families give the gift of life to complete strangers, despite some of them going through some of the hardest times of their lives.
“Last year 1,544 Australian lives were transformed by the generosity of 554 organ donors whose families agreed to donate at the time of their loved one’s death; to me there is nothing more humbling than making that decision.
“The national call to action for this year’s DonateLife campaign is finding a plus one so we can double the number of potential donors.
“I think it’s safe to say that I’m hoping to find a lot of plus ones on our trip around Australia!”
To register as a donor visit www.donatelife.gov.au all you need is your Medicare card number.