“There were things that you had no control over…the isolation and some of the day-to-day challenges like going to the toilet, having a shower – or not having a shower – they were some of the challenges that gave us a small insight into what young Aussies with high care needs have to deal with for the rest of their lives.” Melissa Downes, (Simpson Desert Trekker 2016 & Channel 9 News Reader).
For 8 days between 28 April and 08 May 2016, 18 bold trekkers conquered harsh weather conditions and endless sand dunes whilst aiming to walk 250km across the Simpson Desert in what is said to be the ultimate Australian adventure challenge. The reason – right now 7000 young Australians with high care needs are living in aged care simply because there are few other options to receive dignified, relevant and age-appropriate care and housing.
The completely isolated harsh environment of the Simpson Desert provides a striking reflection of the challenges that young people with high care needs face on a daily basis. The trekkers met head on both physical and emotional challenges with little control over personal choice. Unfortunately the weather conditions meant the trek was curtailed to 148km, still a great achievement by all.
PBF Australia’s corporate partners come from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds. Regardless of why each one decided to join, it is fair to say their values align with PBF’s and we would like to celebrate their membership by sharing with you a little about them.
Youngcare became PBF Corporate Members in November 2008. This organisation is committed to helping young people exit or avoid admissions to aged care, right now. They aim to develop viable and replicable models to solve the problem once and for all, giving young people with high care needs the chance to live life with choice, independence and dignity.
Tony South from PBF Australia has also experienced adventures across the desert, twice from Purnie Pore to Birdsville, tackling a whole set of different challenges from a wheelchair. On his last trip Tony covered 100km in an all-terrain wheelchair before the motor failed. He had to spend one day and night being totally bogged in a clay pan when it rained and his chair became useless.
Over the years Sam Kennerley (CEO – Youngcare) and Tony have developed a friendship. When discussing the recent trek Sam shared, “I guess everyone has their own comfort level and where they feel they are or aren’t in control and that is where the Simpson Desert Challenge really challenges people in many different ways. I love watching people change, develop and ‘get it’ as much as they can, as no-one can ever fully comprehend or attempt to know how life is for a young Aussies with high care needs. But the Challenge goes some tiny way.”
If you are interested in participating in Youngcare’s next trek 25 May – 04 June 2017 you can find out more here
Or if you would like to explore the option of becoming a PBF Corporate Member you can do so here