Waratah West teacher walks across Northern Territory to support families touched by cancer

Best foot forward: Emma McCabe said about half of her 17 students are Indigenous and she hoped to Skype with them while away to share what she’s learned about Aboriginal culture. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Best foot forward: Emma McCabe said about half of her 17 students are Indigenous and she hoped to Skype with them while away to share what she’s learned about Aboriginal culture. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

WHEN Emma McCabe treks across the Northern Territory for Camp Quality next week, she will be keeping the reasons for her odyssey close to her chest.

John McCabe

John McCabe

Ms McCabe, a kindergarten teacher at Waratah West Public School, will have a portrait of her late mother Mavis on the front of her jersey and a photo of her late brother John on her back.

“I’ll be thinking about them quite often and will dedicate it to them,” she said.

Ms McCabe was eight years old when John passed away from bone cancer at the age of 20. Her mother died in March this year after a heart related problem.

“My brother was in quite a lot of pain and my mum would often say to him ‘Stay strong when you’re feeling pain. When you’re going through your toughest time, there’s always someone worse off than you’,” Ms McCabe said. “When I’m having a tough day covered in blisters or haven’t showered in days, I’ll be thinking about the pain he went through and the kids who are going through pain 10 times worse than what I’m going through.”

Ms McCabe will fly on Saturday to Alice Springs, where she and a group of 14 other participants will start the 223 kilometre Trek 4 Kids along the Larapinta Trail.

They will walk an average of 15 kilometres every day for 16 days to Mount Sonder, one of the territory's highest mountains.

Ms McCabe paid $3995 to participate and committed to raising another $4000 for Camp Quality, which will use the funds to support families living with cancer.

“I wanted to do some sort of charity work and I like a physical challenge so it was the perfect match really,” she said. “It was also about setting a good example for my kids - both my own two boys and the children in my class.

“We talk a lot at school about how we should always be thinking of others and asking what are we doing for someone else.”

The school has helped her raise about $2000 through fundraising days and students offering their pocket money. She has also received sponsorship from The Camels softball team, Solmer-Civil, Hunter Womens Rugby, and donations from attendees at Newcastle Jockey Club and a Woolworths Mayfield barbecue.

Ms McCabe has been training three times a week for 12 months and doing practice walks to prepare. “I feel pretty good, so it will be good to enjoy the scenery without puffing too much.”

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