Community Magazine

I’m off to the Outback

By Blondeambition @BrookeFalvey

I'm going on an adventure.

Well, technically my adventure has already started because I'm sitting on a Qantas plane winging my way to Alice Springs, but it's about to get even better.

For the next two weeks, I'll be hanging out in the Northern Territory, road crewing for the Alice to Darwin Smiddy Challenge - an eight-day cycling event.

For those not in the know, Smiling for Smiddy is a program of Mater Foundation (where I work) which raises funds for cancer research. It was started 11 years ago in honoured of Adam Smiddy - a young triathlete and physiotherapist who died from Melanoma.

Because cycling isn't my jam (unless we're cruising to the pub or the beach), I put my hand up to join the 'fluro fairies' - a team of volunteers who provide Road Crew support covering everything from catering and laundry services to hugs, pep talks and setting up camp.

Our route will see us cross the Tropic of Capricorn, pass through the UFO capital of Australia, Wycliffe Well, stop in Barrow Creek (and keeping our resident Canadian, also named Brooke, safely locked up in the car so she doesn't get kidnapped), bunker down at Larrimah Hotel which has a resident croc named 'Sneaky Sam', head into Katherine Gorge (hello bucket list item!) and sleep under millions of stars!

I'll also be putting my communications and social media skills to the test by sharing our journey on the Smiling for Smiddy Facebook page and making some cool little videos along the way.

When I was first assigned the Smiddy portfolio last year, I panicked. These guys seriously LOVE cycling, they wear a lot of Lycra and drink a lot of coffee.

I don't do any of those things.

But they also have a whole lot of heart and are seriously committed to the cause and that's where we come together.

It's been 27 years since my grandfather, Porg, died from Melanoma. He was 54 years old, my grandma just 52.

I was eight, my brother was two and my mum was just 31. It's far too young for someone to lose their husband and father.

I’m off to the Outback

David and Maria Smiddy lost their son Adam when he was just 26. Serge Simic also lost his beautiful wife Emma, the blogger behind Dear Melanoma, in April. She was 28.

Melanoma remains one of the greatest killers of Australians, but a team of amazing researchers at Mater are working hard to change that.

And that's why I'm so excited and honoured to be part of the Alice to Darwin Smiddy Challenge; the early mornings and late nights supporting our team of riders; sleeping under the stars in swags and setting up the famous 'Smiddy Saos' each morning tea and even going without a shower for a few days.

I'm excited to do it all (well, okay I do seriously love a shower but I've got the biggest pack of baby wipes imaginable) because I understand the gaping hole that is left behind each time we lose someone we love.

I'll be sharing some behind-the-scenes snaps and stories from the road over on my Facebook page and (prepare for some epic road trip related carpool karaoke videos), plus I'll do my best to bring your What Brooke Wore - the Outback edition, even though I'll be wearing a fluro yellow t-shirt each day!

As part of my role I'll also be giving a comms briefing to the crew each night so if you have any messages of support I can share with our 35 riders and 15 road crew, throw them (and what area you're from) in the comments below.

See you in a while, crocodile!

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