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Krazy Kosci Klimb puts cerebral palsy
sufferer on top of the world
In August last year, Western Sydney University Rotaractors
were asked to climb a mountain – literally – by their
sponsor club, the Rotary Club of Campbelltown, NSW, to
raise funds for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
After months of preparation, the Rotaractors who
came on board faced Mount Kosciusko on February 18,
a challenging endeavour at the best of times, made even
more demanding by their primary goal: assisting Paul
Bowman, wheelchair bound and himself a sufferer of
cerebral palsy, to reach the summit.
Paul and his support team, composed of three Rotarians,
four Rotaractors and Paul’s sister, Maria, arrived at Charlotte
Pass on Saturday morning. Issues with modifying Paul’s
wheelchair to make it suitable for rolling over rocks and
rough track terrain resulted in an hour’s delay.
Once they began moving, the team took turns pushing
and pulling Paul through the use of harnesses. Two people
harnessed to the front by ropes pulled, while one person
pushed the chair from behind. On the steeper parts of the
climb an additional two members would assist with pulling.
“People asked me whether I was nervous or scared
climbing the mountain. I always said yes, but not for me – I
was worried about my support team as I heard that most of
the injuries from the mountain happen to them,” Paul said.
A climb that usually takes around three hours return,
took the team nine hours in high winds and temperatures
less than three degrees near the summit. At the third
checkpoint, Maria started to suffer complications with her
heart and was stopped from going any further.
“It was a hard climb with the wheelchair and we had
to put in hours of training beforehand, but in the end
it was more than worth it,” Rotaractor Damien Bartolo
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A great month for Rotaract in Australia
National District Rotaract Representatives (DRR) Training
was held in Canberra, ACT, during the final week of April,
presenting a rare opportunity to meet our leaders face to
face, understand the current state of each Rotaract district
and formulate strategic plans to strengthen Rotaract
across the nation. Congratulations to all the newly elected
DRRs; a capable group of leaders who will take Rotaract to
a new level in their districts. We look forward to working
with them to bring their visions to life.
April also saw the release the 2017-18 Rotaract Australia
Strategy. The strategy is usually developed internally by the
Rotaract Australia Executive Team, however, this year we
wanted each of our members to have the opportunity for
input into our strategy. We achieved this through a nation-
wide Strengths, Weaknesses Opportunities, Threats (SWOT)
analysis, identifying 12 key focus areas for us to address.
May’s focus area is Resources. With club training season
upon us, it’s essential we provide simple and effective
resources for our members to utilise and will subsequently
be reviewing our current resources and developing new
tools based on the feedback we have received.
Finally, Rotaract Australia chairperson Bec Weragoda
met with some Auckland-based Rotaractors during a
work trip to New Zealand and discussed opportunities
for Australia and New Zealand to collaborate. Currently,
Rotaract in New Zealand does not have a Management
Data Input/Output (MDIO), so we will continue the
dialogue on how we can best collaborate to strengthen
We look forward to seeing our members during our
upcoming Rotaract Training sessions.
Bec, Bianca, Rachel, Liz and Emily
Rotaract Australia MDIO Executive Team
said. “We allowed Paul to fulfil a dream he never thought
possible: to climb Australia’s highest peak. I have never
seen someone work so hard to reach a goal and I will
never forget the look on his face and how happy he was
to be at the top.”
“When we finally got back to the base camp, my sister
Maria was there waiting to wheel me over the line,” Paul
said. “Will I do it again? No. But I’m glad I did it – with
the most incredible people I have ever met. I regard each
of them a friend and a part of my family.”
Paul Bowman, centre, with his Krazy Kosci Klimb support team.
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