From Canberra to overseeing an empire with roots in Bondi and New York, Janelle Chaplin…
Over the last two years we’ve brought you many stories about raize the roof, a charity house changing the lives of kids a little less lucky.
Helmed by siblings Danielle and Lincoln Dal Cortivo, raize the roof saw a house built by donations, decorated by passionate volunteers and finally auctioned off, all in the name of raising money for both the Starlight Foundation and SOS Botswana Children’s Villages.
But even as the winning bidders move into their new house, there’s still work to be done.
While the spotlight of fundraising has been understandably on the charity house, another raize the roof supporter has been pounding the pavement, over 500 kilometres of it, to be precise.
Michael Quinn is a 29-year-old Irishman who moved to Australia eight years ago and settled in Canberra. A stonemason by trade, Michael was serendipitously asked to put in some pro bono hours at the raize the roof house during its construction and was so impressed by the dedication and passion of the Dal Cortivos that he decided to pitch in beyond physical labour.
Instead, he offered to put his body on the line in a different way, by volunteering to run 12 marathons in 12 months in an effort to fundraise for the charity.
“At the start of the year, a fellow stonemason called me up and asked if I’d help out and build some stone walls for local charity raize the roof,” explains Michael. “I agreed. I had no idea what or who it was for, but I’m always up for helping out where I can.”
“There, I met the brains behind the project, the Dal Cortivos, and some of the other volunteers. I was totally inspired by all their hard work and dedication, and knew I wanted to do something more to help.”
Describing himself as “passionate about health and wellbeing”, Michael says his natural instinct to challenge himself was the inspiration for his epic commitment to raize the roof.
“I came up with the challenge of running 12 marathons (six ultra marathons and six marathons) over the next 12 months, here and overseas,” he explains. “That’s one marathon a month, and more than 552kms in total. My goal is to raise $50,000 within 12 months.”
So far, in addition to ‘normal’ marathons (42.19 kilometres a piece) and ultra marathons (over 50 kilometres), Michael has done a 32-kilometre marathon and the City to Surf, which is 14 kilometres.
While these distances would make most people weak at the knees, Michael says it’s worth it to achieve raize the roof’s goals.
“I was very fortunate to have the upbringing I had,” he says. “I was raised in a big family with loving parents, loads of opportunities and we were lucky to avoid any major illnesses.”
“Nowadays I have a good job, a place to live and I get to travel the world. What inspired me about this project was firstly the people involved in it, and what they are out to achieve. When I found out it was about helping children less fortunate than myself, I knew I wanted to get involved.”
“Helping sick children have their wishes come true and giving orphaned children the possibility of having a life that they would never have had, is what keeps me motivated and inspired. If they can deal with what life has thrown their way, I can deal with running a few hundred kilometres!”