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Rachel and Tess’ Legacy of the Kokoda

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In March 2013, Rachel Cutler’s husband Mick tragically died from brain cancer.

Mick had been a police officer with the Australian Federal Police since 1999, and this meant that in the wake of his death, Rachel and her three daughters received the support of AFP Legacy.

A not-for-profit organisation, AFP Legacy provides support to the families of AFP members, including financial assistance, if they pass away. Having access to this support was extremely useful, says Rachel.

“[The support] included putting us in touch with other families AFP Legacy looks out for, taking the children away on camps with other legatees from Canberra and surrounds as well as NSW Police Legacy legatees and maintaining the connection to the AFP through functions and events.”

“That connection with other families going through similar things as we are has been really helpful for me and the children,” she says.

Tess

Tess

This month, Rachel and her daughter Tess will embark on the famous Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea, to raise money for AFP Legacy, and the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, the organisation at the forefront of brain cancer research and advocacy.

They have both been training in the lead up to the walk based on a schedule provided by the organisation, and Tess has a goal to carry her own backpack on the trail, explains Rachel.

“While I carry a day pack with about five litres of water, plus my drinking water for the walk (another litre), Tess walks with her large backpack full of books.”

Rachel and Tess

Rachel and Tess

“We generally do between seven and [ten] kilometres a day, and while I make it out more than Tess does, I’m not doing all the other things she is. There are scheduled rest days, but I’ve found that even if I just do a flat walk on those days the hard walks are getting easier.”

AFP Legacy will join its counterpart NSW Legacy, to run the annual event. Rachel and Tess will be raising money for both causes, and have even promised that if they raise $10,000 by April 14, they will shave their heads.

Tess, far left and Rachel, second from right

Tess, far left and Rachel, second from right

Rachel says that the time is well past due for serious research that can provide better treatments and eventually a cure for brain cancer.

“The Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, founded by Dr Charlie Teo, is working really hard to [find a cure] and really need your charity dollars. Regardless of how hard the Kokoda Track is, nothing will come close to watching someone you love die that way in terms of ‘doing hard things’.”

“I was told Mick would die three days after diagnosis – there was no hope given at all. I was driving to the hospital with the girls in the car, and thankfully pulled over and took the call off speaker for that bombshell…if just one person doesn’t have to hear that, and another can be saved, and then another, and another, we’ll be on our way.”

For more information, and to support their journey, visit Rachel and Tess’ facebook page, and their gofundme page.

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