Soldier On is calling on Australians to get involved in the ‘March On’ challenge, and walk 96km during the month of March to support the veteran community.
Acting CEO of Solider On Australia, Prudence Slaughter, said this is the first time Solider On has run the challenge, which is modelled on the 96km Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea and comes in three levels: the Hill Challenge, where participants are required to walk 96km throughout March (about 3km a day); the Mountain Challenge, where participants choose a nominated walking track in their area to complete in sections; and the Pinnacle Challenge, where participants will complete a professionally guided trek of the Kokoda Track.
“It’s really important because it demonstrates the commitment and the support that Australia does have for veterans,” Ms Slaughter says.
“Obviously with marching being an intrinsic part of [the] Defence Force, it’s an opportunity to stand side-by-side with those who have given so much to Australia and served Australia, and raise some money for Solider On so our programs can go further, reach more, and enable veterans to thrive across Australia.”
Soldier On employee Sharon Sloan has elected to take on the Pinnacle Challenge for March On, and will be heading to Papua New Guinea in April to take on the Kokoda Track.
“One of the driving points of it was my uncle was in the army, and was killed in Vietnam in battle just before the war ended. I guess now with me working with Soldier On, it gave me more of a reason and purpose to actually complete the trek, and also to better understand the mental and physical challenges that men and women went through whilst they were in PNG at the time,” she says.
“I’m looking forward to that personal challenge. I think it’s going to be a really strong learning opportunity for myself, individually, to better understand what they went through.”
She says participating in March On is a great way to raise funds, and awareness for what “Soldier On does and is prepared to do to support those who have served or those who are continuing to serve, and their families”.
Funds raised from March On will go towards Soldier On’s programs across the country. Ms Slaughter says Soldier On works hard to support veterans and their families with individualised, trauma-informed and veteran-centric care, through mental health and wellbeing, employment and transition, education and training programs and a focus on connections with family, friends and the community.
For more information, to register or to donate, visit soldieron.org.au/march-on/