I round the last bend and spot the team of superheroes at the top of the hill. Relief and exhaustion wash over me and I briefly consider stopping for a nap, I’m out on my feet. 125km’s over 5 days dressed as superheroes has been way harder than my mediocre training catered to and it’s all caught up to me. This morning I thought I was lost to the bleak industrial areas of Port Kembla, a lone superhero who had run out of water and had no mobile coverage. But I’m here, I’ve actually made it! I triumphantly raise my He-Man sword to the sky which is met with rousing cheers and applause. Just one more hill.
I’m met by the KidzWish fairy, Spiderman, a Superman wrestler, Batgirl and a host of others, it’s an incredible turn out. A shy little girl gives me a hug and says “thank you”. I’m yet to understand the context of that thank you, but soon I will, and it will make every step worth it.
The amazing folks from KidzWish take me aside and introduce me to the little girl, Kiara. She’s shy, tentative, and unsure what a bloke dressed in a silly wig with fake muscles and a sword is all about. Kiara hands me a letter which has her smiling picture at the top and as I scan the words, her lifetime of operations and struggle jump off the page. I can’t read it here with everything going on, I want to take the time to sit quietly and consider every word. Her letter explains that funds raised from the Superhero Walk will go to buying her a C-Pap machine. I have no idea what that is but looking at this brave little girl in front of me, I know it means a great deal to her.
I meet her mum who explains Kiara sometimes stops breathing during the night. Her mum has to wake her up, get her going again. I can’t imagine how long they have existed like this? The C-Pap machine means they can both finally sleep through a whole night.
This letter means everything to me. This moment, this piece in time is what makes it all worthwhile. Her mum tears up and so do I and pretty soon we’re both a bit of a mess. I’m immensely proud, the donations from the Superhero Walk have made a significant difference to Kiara and her family’s life.
Then I meet Nicola who is also shy and unsure what the fuss is about. She’s had her share of troubles and faced them with a smiling determination. Some of Nicola’s movements are challenged and her mum explains how funds raised from the Superhero Walk will buy Nicola orthotics. She’ll be able to run and play with other kids. Simple things that to Nicola, make all the difference.
I smash a tray of Tim Tams and then another. I’m pretty sure they’re for the kids but the sugar has me. I eye up the lamingtons and look out over kids dressed as superheroes, laughing and chasing each other in the safety of the wonderful KidzWish home.
There’s one more person the Superhero Walk has supported and you’ve met him before. Jacob White. In 2012 KidzWish and the local community came together and provided Jacob with a new motorised wheelchair. The Superhero Walk was able to get some emergency repairs done to Jacob’s wheelchair, allowing him to continue his
inspiring life in the Illawarra.
Thanks to you we doubled last year’s fundraising! Every cent has gone to the KidzWish Appeals Program and directly supported
Kiara, Nicola and Jacob.
I am truly grateful to everyone who has supported the 2016 Superhero Walk and am humbled by the opportunity to make a difference to these kids, 1 step a time.