Andrew Malon.
Andrew Malon.

Ready to tackle Kokoda

A FORMER Biloela resident is about to take on a major challenge - kayaking from Cape York across the Torres Strait into Papua New Guinea and then running the Kokoda Track.

Andrew Malon, 32, lived in Biloela for about 20 years and left almost 10 years ago.

He is in a team of four people who have made Cape York to Kokoda (CY2K) their goal, deciding to complete the entire journey in seven days.

Andrew works for the Flight Centre Travel Group and the team is raising funds and awareness for the Kokoda Track Foundation - a Flight Centre Foundation charity partner.

The Flight Centre Foundation is part of the company's corporate and social responsibility strategy, providing employees with a means to support nominated charities through fundraising initiatives.

All staff donations are matched dollar for dollar by the company.

KTF is a charitable organisation committed to ensuring all children in the Kokoda region have access to free, high-quality and reliable education.

This includes providing funding to Kokoda Elementary School, which has four teachers looking after about 250 students.

KTF is also one of the main supporters of the community preschool.

With no government support, the preschool would cease to function without KTF's contributions to teacher training, mentoring and educational resources.

In October, Andrew will be one of four men who will trade their Flight Centre desks for a kayak and running shoes.

Preparation is already under way, with training sessions six times a week.

Andrew is no stranger to challenges. Last year he participated in the Cairns Ironman event to fundraise for drought-stricken farmers, then he cycled more than 700km from Brisbane to Charleville to deliver the $43,000 cheque.

He said his latest mission would be a challenge but his biggest concern was the weather.

"If it blows up it'll be a tough few days. I spoke to someone who has kayaked up there previously and he said off Cape York he had 3m seas."

Asked about his experience growing up in Biloela, Andrew said that to this day, all his best mates were from Biloela.

"We still see each other almost every other week.

"Bilo breeds good people. It's hard to beat an upbringing of camping, fishing and being surrounded by genuine people.

"It's only when you start to visit cities around the world that you recognise just how lucky you are to grow up in the country."

People can donate to the Kokoda challenge via the website www.capeyork2 and check out the CapeYorkToKokoda Facebook page for updates.

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