ACU student nears end of Brisbane-Canberra walk

A theology and social work student from the Australian Catholic University, Amy Banson, is finishing an epic 1500km walk to raise funds for the National Brain Injury Foundation after witnessing a fatal road accident.

In the closing stages of her walk from Brisbane to Canberra, the university student is still showing her trademark determination and sense of humour and optimism, the Canberra Times reports.

Her most severe injury has been a toenail that's fallen off. She's rotated between four pairs of now fairly beaten-up sneakers. She spent her 23rd birthday in a pub at Guyra. She was taught yodelling in Tamworth. And her ravenous appetite at the end of walking about 30km each day has earned her a new moniker.

"I've been nicknamed 'Seagull' because I finish my meal and then finish everyone else's as well," she said.

And then there are the thousands of people with acquired brain injury and their families and carers who have cheered her on along the way.

Amy was in Bowral in the Southern Highlands yesterday just a couple of hundred kilometres away from finishing the 1463km walk from Brisbane to Canberra.

It was day 53 of the trek and the massive homecoming reception planned for her in Garema Place in Canberra next Monday seemed tantalisingly close.

Studying theology and social work at the Australian Catholic University, Amy had always planned to do the Brisbane-Canberra walk as a personal challenge. But fate intervened and Amy was the first to tend to Clea Rose minutes after the 21-year-old university student was hit by a stolen car in Civic on 30 July last year.

Clea died of injuries to her brain three weeks later. It was then Amy decided to use her walk as a fundraiser for the National Brain Injury Foundation and to promote awareness of acquired brain injury and the need for more respite care.

The Walk with a Rose was born. Amy will walk into the Garema Place welcome-home function the day after the first anniversary of Clea's death. Her support crew on the road has included Clea's sister Zoe Rose.

"The feeling that you're nearly there and nearly achieved a goal is bigger than anything and knowing how many people have been affected by this walk," Amy said. "A lot of people have been inspired."

She said she wanted to wait until her walk was finished to see the final tally for the fundraising, but was encouraged by the response. "On the road, more often now than ever, we have people pull up and donate money. Lots of people buying T-shirts and wrist bands," he said.

Once home, Amy intended to "have a bit of a rest and go back to uni and start thinking about project Number 2, I guess".

'Seagull' flies down home straight in epic charity walk (Canberra Times 24/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Walk with a Rose
Australian Catholic University

25 Jul 2006