The Great Australian Cancer Bush Walk

Michael Mitchell is currently completing a historic 6022km bush walk from Cape York QLD to Wilsons Promontory to raise $1M for the Cancer Council. Michael is the step-father of Rovers Senior player Daniel Andersen and has also coached in the juniors as well as assisted as a physio during the 2007 Seniors finals campaign.

Hello to all at the Hampton Rovers AFC. At the time of writing, since leaving the Tip of Cape York on May 5th, I have carried this pack for 4,200km and have reached the Oxley Wild Rivers area of Northern NSW. I will admit at times it’s been hard work, particularly since crossing the QLD border as I?ve completed a couple of hundred river crossings in the last three weeks. All’s good until you?re chest deep in a reasonably fast flowing river with 30kg on your back! The blessing has been despite it all being done during quite a few downpours of rain it’s only got really cold a couple of times.  

I?ve been averaging about 25km a day but this has slowed now that I?m travelling either along or across The Great Divide on most days. I doubt it would develop speed but this bushwalking caper as a form of footy pre- season training has a lot going for it as far as endurance is concerned! 

The reality is, The Great Australian Cancer Bush Walk is not about me. It’s about the 110,000 Australians diagnosed with cancer in the past year and the 40,000 who will die as a result this year. Very few of us, of whatever age, are untouched by cancer in some way, whether it be through a relative or friend. Sadly, all sporting clubs, including the Rovers, have lost too many good people to this terrible disease over the years. Thinking of such things constantly reminds me of the need to make the most of the opportunities every day brings. On reflection, such a mind set on younger shoulders would certainly have seen me make much more of my very modest footy career. You?re a long time retired!

By the way, my reasons for choosing the Cancer Council ahead of so many worthy cancer related charities was because it is non-government funded and raise up to $60M each year to  provide patient support, cancer education and ongoing research to help find a cure.

So, to you Rovers sweating it out on the training track in preparation for the ‘09 season, I send my best wishes. One of the best things I?ve ever done was to have gone extraordinarily hard with my own training before the walk. It appeared to be overkill at the time but the rewards have been outstanding. I?ve now been carrying this pack and making my way through the bush since well before the Beijing Olympics and will still be plodding my way through the Vic High Country when you guys hit Round One. It’s a truly exciting time for the club competing in B Grade. I?ll avoid the obvious clich’s but bust a gut as a team to follow your coach’s plans and you?ll give yourself every chance of success. I?ve had to be coach, player and trainer all in one for the past eight months and self discipline at getting the absolute basics right each and every time, even in the most testing times has got me this far, I?m sure it will work for you.

I?m aiming to finish no later than 5th May 2009 at Wilsons Promontory. I?ve stated I?ll raise $1M for The Cancer Council. You can never guarantee success but I assure you any failure to achieve that lofty amount will certainly not be through any lack of effort on my behalf. I?m sure the Rovers will see season 2009 through the same eyes.  

Michael Mitchell

Mob: 0429199717 or sat phone: 0147142246

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