34,000 steps ... and we're still counting!

ALWS Community Action Manager Jonathan Krause reflects on some amazing days of Walk My Way.

The photo below is not me at the end of the 26 kilometres of ALWS Walk My Way!

It is how my heart felt …

… knowing that 381 people in SA, 12 in NT and another 40+ in 10 days’ time (+ one in Melbourne – go, Steven!) cared so much for others they’d take 34,000 steps to raise money to help refugee children go to school.

The star jumper in this photo is Eli Lewis (son of Walk My Way co-ordinator, Kirra).

Eli ran the 26 kilometres in 2 hours and 24 minutes … and still had energy to jump!

NB: If you want to see a photo of me at the finish of my 26 kilometres, go to the end of this story.

What a wonderful event is Walk My Way!

Together we have already raised enough to support 4,671 refugee children go to school … and we’re still counting! (Every $26 can support one child – donate here if you like.)

The SA day started with a FREE German Farmhouse breakfast.

Cold meats, cheeses from Udder Delights, quince paste from Maggie Beer, yohurt from Paris Creek, fresh bread from Lobethal Bakery … delicious!

Then we had our Opening – our nearly 400 Walkers, plus 100 supporters from the ALWS family, plus all our Adelaide Hills volunteers … it was standing room only … except for our special guests, Rebekah Sharkie, the Federal Member for Mayo (who needed more than one tissue to dab her eyes), the Honourable John Gardener, SA Minister for Education, and Mt Barker Mayor Anne Ferguson.

You can see why everyone was moved by the Opening here.

If you don’t have 40 minutes to watch the entire Opening (I guarantee it’s worth it), you can just watch this 3 minute video of the Lutheran Community Sewing Group who made Thank You bags for all our Walkers.

(Make sure you have tissues handy!)

Did you watch it?

If you didn’t, stop right now, and take 3 minutes to be excited, encouraged and inspired!

Then we stepped out! (Or ran, as Eli and a number of others did!) Our youngest ‘walker’ was one year old, and the most senior was 83 (the age I felt at the end of my Walk).

What was exciting for me – a lifelong born’n’bred Lutheran – was to see the number of Lutheran Pastors (including two Bishops) who walked …

Stirling was our halfway mark – where Walkers were greeted by a Sausage Sizzle cooked by volunteers from Teen Challenge, with sausages donated by Max Noske Meats and Stirling Variety Meats, and bread from Bakers Delight.

We also had the Black Thunder from radio station HIT107 handing out ridiculously healthy things like Protein balls and yoghurt. (I successfully avoided those.)

With chocolate Easter Eggs at Eagle-on-the-Hill …

… a series of six Meditation cards along the walk

… and a ‘Made It Meal’ at the bottom of the Walk

… meaning we had heart, soul and tummy all well-catered for! (Perhaps not so well catered-for blistered feet and aching legs.)

While in Adelaide we had a perfect autumn day at 22 degrees, our friends in Darwin confronted 33 degrees – though perhaps that is cool for them – as they walked between the two campuses of the Lutheran College.

In Melbourne, Steven Loffler decided to do his own thing, and walked 26km along the Yarra from St John's Southgate to St Paul's Box Hill.

Friends joined him for encouragement and support - and a relaxed lunch halfway!

Two weeks later, more than 45 Walkers in WA set off on their own Walk My Way. 

Starting at Living Waters Lutheran College and walking to Mandurah Surf Life Saving Club at San Remo, the track included amazing countryside, beautiful beaches...

..and perfect spots for selfies!

The LWF team you support at Kakuma Refugee Camp sent a video message of encouragement and thanks to Walkers and their Supporters and all the Volunteers… and I want to echo their thanks to you too!

A special thanks to Kirra Lewis, our Walk My Way Coordinator, and the ALWS team. And to a generous couple who ‘matched’ Walk My Way donations, up to the value of $10,000!

34,000 – that’s a lot of steps to count … but I know a lot of us used those steps to also count our blessings as we thought about the refugee children we stepped out to help!

And how did I feel at the end of the Walk?