Walk for Wittenoom Children - Summary 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



Through a lucky coincidence, a trip to Australia in March 2012 provided the opportunity for IBAS to conduct interviews with key movers in this month's ground-breaking initiative to raise funds for asbestos disease research: The Walk for Wittenoom Children. The genesis of this project was an idea by Derryn Carnaby (Den). As she told IBAS, her determination to fight the asbestos scourge came from a highly personal motive – both her parents and two of her brothers had died from asbestos-related diseases contracted through exposure to Wittenoom asbestos (See: Charity Walk for Wittenoom Children).

During the planning for the walk, it became clear that this huge logistical undertaking would require a multifaceted approach. The back room work and support needed was provided by the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia (ADSA), one of the world's leading support and advocacy groups for asbestos victims (See: Confronting Australia's Asbestos Catastrophe).

The incredible spirit and effort made by the walkers during the 600+ km trek from the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie to Perth are detailed in a series of daily reports filed by IBAS based on interviews and information from key participants including Den herself, Bev Bertocchi, whose husband and mother-in-law died due to environmental asbestos exposure in Wittenoom, ADSA officials Robert and Rose Marie Vojakovic, and Slater & Gordon's demon walker, Siri Siriwardene. See:

Walk for Wittenoom Children - Day 1

Walk for Wittenoom Children - Day 2

Walk for Wittenoom Children - Day 3

Walk for Wittenoom Children - Day 4

Walk for Wittenoom Children - Day 5

On Saturday, the walkers converged on the ADSA office to be met by VIPs, well-wishers and members of the ADSA community. They had accomplished what many people said was “just plain crazy.” They had walked through the desert maintaining their humour and Australian pragmatism to realize Den's vision.

May, 2012



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