First of its kind fundraiser modelled after iconic Kokoda Trail to put participants to the test in honour of Australian war veterans
On 1 March 2020, Soldier On Australia will launch its March On (#2020MarchOn) latest fundraising campaign, encouraging Australians to conquer a marathon "Kokoda challenge" in honour of Australian contemporary veterans and their families.
The unique fundraising initiative calls upon Australians to walk 96 kilometres during the month of March, with a choice of three different challenges tailored to individual skills and fitness levels.
Soldier On aims to raise $1 million via the campaign to extend the reach of its services for veterans and their families. Participants can either choose to walk "The Hill", "The Mountain" or most gruelling of all, "The Pinnacle".
• The Hill Challenge requires participants to walk the 96km distance during March, or about 3km per day.
• The Mountain Challenge is a 96km course set up in each Australian capital city to replicate the rigours of the Kokoda Trail.
• The Pinnacle Challenge calls on the most daring and committed fundraisers to walk the iconic 96km Kokoda trail in Papua New Guinea, where many Australians fought and lost their lives during World War II, over the course of just less than two weeks. Participants are encouraged to fundraise through the support and donations of friends, family members and colleagues.
"The act of marching is of course an intrinsic activity linked to Defence and with the literal connection to the month of March and the incredible symbolism and military significance of Kokoda, we believe that March On with Soldier On is a campaign that will – and should - resonate with thousands of Australians," said Solider On Australia CEO, Ivan Slavich.
"It's no secret that many of our servicemen and women – and in-turn their families – face significant and unique post-service struggles including difficulty finding work, post traumatic stress disorder and feelings of isolation. The suicide rate among Australian veterans is simply unacceptable.
"Soldier On knows what has to be done. We've proven that our programs are comprehensive and relevant to help our veterans and their families build better futures post their service. The challenge now is to expand our services across all areas of the nation where veterans are based, but find themselves without support. This requires funding and the demonstrated support of every Australian. This is why we're activating March On," added Mr Slavich.
Australian Governor General David Hurley and his wife Linda Hurley have pledged their full support to the March On with Soldier On campaign, and are calling on fellow Australians to get involved and raise money in support of our veterans.
"As joint patrons of Soldier On, Linda and I are pleased to support the March On initiative. The memory and legacy of Kokoda is part of the Australian identity. March On is an opportunity to support Soldier On and our modern veterans while remembering Kokoda and honouring the sacrifice of those who served.
We encourage all Australians to get involved," Governor-General David Hurley said.
The awareness and fundraising campaign calls on the public, corporate Australia and politicians to join forces with Soldier On, which exists to support all personnel who have served, and continue to serve, side by side with the Australian Defence Force.
Soldier On is a not-for-profit veteran support organisation delivering a range of services to enable contemporary veterans and their families to thrive. It is Australia's only national fully integrated and holistic support services provider for our national service personnel and their families. Soldier On currently reaches more than one million Australian veterans and their families.
Soldier On's services include a range of mental health and wellbeing, employment and transition, education and training programs, as well as programs and activities focused on connections with family, friends, and the broader community.
Soldier on is calling on Australians to pledge their support to the brave men and women who paved the way for the freedom and quality of life we enjoy today by walking a mile or two in their shoes.
For more information and to register for the March On campaign visit soldieron.org.au, where participants can set up their own fundraising page which they can monitor for donations. Follow the campaign via Soldier On Australia's Instagram account, and use #2020MarchOn.