On September 1 the "Wish You Were Here" team set off on their Kokoda trek. After losing their close mate, Peter Grima, to Pancreatic Cancer they set themselves a task that was symbolic of the challenges and hardships faced by cancer patients from the initial diagnosis and throughout the treatment. They have written a firsthand account of the trek and have shared their experience with all of us;
"The journey across the Owen Stanley mountain's is physically difficult and draining, however, as we walked, stumbled, crawled across this mountain range we were constantly reminded of events that took place 75 years ago along the same hills and river crossings. The loss of life, the suffering and the brutality of war are juxtaposed against a very ancient and mystical physical environment.
It's fair to say that the experience was brutally challenging, inspiring and extremely emotional and all of the Wish You Were Here team members came away feeling that it was a special journey who's memories will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
With the benefit of hindsight, some of us could have trained a little harder, we could have prepared for the experience in a more thorough way. What we couldn’t prepare ourselves for however, was the emotional impact that the journey would take on all of us and how each and every member of the team was affected by this experience.
Our quest to conquer the Trail was inspired by two friends who were touched by Pancreatic Cancer. We lost one in 2016 and the other is fighting hard to stay alive.
The war against Pancreatic Cancer is a desperate fight against the odds. Now, when we look at this in the context of what took place in PNG during the war against the Japanese, we soon discover that there are some very strong and close parallels. As this connection became increasingly apparent to the WYWH team, we realised that our two friends like the diggers in 1942 had to overcome immense physical and psychological hurdles that no one is ever prepared for in advance. They had to adapt, be resilient, and above all else stay committed and focused and hope that their brave stand will help them prevail.
In honour of the memory of diggers that fell in 1942 and our two mates, we completed the journey in 7 days and at the finish line, the sense of relief was matched by a complete sense of humility and respect."