years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
The Coordinator of the Animals Asia Foundation ACT Support Group, Associate Professor Kieran Fallon, completed his 1,000km walk around Canberra on Sunday 21st October. Over $13,000 was raised for the foundation’s Moon Bear Rescue.
“Our dedicated volunteers have already held four successful “Moon Bear Marathons”, which have raised over $70,000 for the bears but this latest walk is the longest ever undertaken,” said Associate Professor Fallon who is aiming to walk up to the marathon distance, 42.2km, every day for 30 days.
In addition to being a dedicated advocate for China’s tortured bears, Kieran Fallon is also Head of Sports Medicine at the Australian Institute of Sport and teaches in the Faculty of Medicine at the Australian National University
The event, started by Mrs Sue Gage, President of the ACT branch of the RSPCA, attracted local media coverage and over 20 supporters walking with Kieran in the first week. One such supporter in attendance was Michael Milton, one of Kieran's patients, who now holds the world record for downhill speed skiing on one leg (due to a childhood illness) at 213km/hr!!! He also has multiple para-olympic gold medals for skiing, climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and walked the Kokoda track on one leg - showing that there is life after losing a limb and always time to support our Moon Bears.
Messages from Kieran Bulletin #1
Today is day 8 and 296.1 km are behind us. Total sponsorship stands at $5,500 and it is steadily increasing. This is $25 for every 5km lap of the central part of the lake - not bad for a walk in the park. With a bit of luck we might hit $10,000 if lots of people turn up on the last day.
We had a terrific opening with about 20 supporters turning up, including Moonie, the fat bottomed bear and Honeycomb, an alpaca who, as usual, arrived in the back seat of a Mazda 121 with her trusty owner Nils. Special guest was Michael Milton who won the award for the world's best disabled athlete in 2006. He holds the world record for downhill speed skiing on one leg - 213km/hr (try that in a car!!!) and has more Paralympic gold medals than you can poke a single ski pole at. He now has his second cancer (having lost one leg to osteosarcoma) and was operated on three days after coming to support the Bears at the start of the walk - what a champion and what an inspiration for the walkers! Our official walk openers were two champions for the animals- Sue Gage, President of the ACT branch of the RSPCA and Mike O'Shaughnessy, recent president of the ACT branch of Animal Liberation, President of the ACT Vegetarian Society, Coordinator of Free Range Canberra (a group trying to end battery hen farming) and very frequent contributor to the Letters to the Editor section of the Canberra Times - thank you and more power to you both.
I hope to see you for a leisurely stroll in the park in the near future. If not remember the big finish - 5km, starting 10am, on the steps of Old Parliament House, Sunday 21st October.
Today was day 16 and the score stands at 585km. My apologies for not being able to relate tales of gore but so far I haven't had a blister, there are no orthopedic complaints and I haven't gone mad nor been made dizzy from walking around the same lake over and over.
This week past was the week of the winds - westerlys up to 90km/hr but thankfully they seem to have settled today. Still no rain and none forecast for next week - good for me but not much chop for the drought.
Support during the walk has increased during this week - peaking today with 13 walkers in all today - age range 1 (not a real walker) - to 76! Sue continues to amaze me with a current total of 310km.
More publicity this week with an interview in the Canberra Chronicle and a photo shoot. I felt very glamorous down at the lake - what should the look be? Vacant stare a la Days of Our Lives? Irritable pout like a catwalk model? Maybe just pointing to some thing out in the distance as in the Lowes catalogue? I'll just stick with dashingly handsome.
Sponsorships are looking very good - up to $12,000!!
For those who might like to join me - and the pace is quite leisurely - hours for this week are 8am to about 2:30 pm. If you wish you can call me on 0417 222 703 to see where on the lake I am.
This morning Moon Bear Marathon Mark 5 concluded in blazing sunshine and in the wonderful company of over 40 local supporters.
Moonie arrived early and once again worried a number of the 5 or 6 canines that had come to support the Bears. Honeycomb, the local celebrity alpaca, again lent her support and distinguished herself by trying to eat my very bright green Moon Bear Marathon Mark 1 T-shirt during the initial formalities. The last day of the walk was opened by the Leader of the Opposition in the ACT Legislative Assembly, Bill Stefaniak who had clearly done his homework and had plenty of good things to sat about AAF. A big thank you to Bill.
It was really busy down at the lake today. "Ground zero" - the spot from which all of our distance measurements had been made and where we had intended to finish, was occupied by hordes of dragon boat racers (nice Chinese touch there), raising money for breast cancer research, so we bypassed it and a good job that we did too! The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation had their walk around the lake on today starting at exactly the same time as ours and going in the opposite direction. It was fun when the two walks met and a great opportunity to display our banner to plenty of people.
Also on the lake today (well, beside the lake) was Val Moran a 65 year old lady who had attempted to walk 1000 MILES in 1000 hours for the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Foundation. She made about 300 miles before two stress fractures of the femur put her out of action. Not to be deterred she will finish the distance, being pushed in a wheelchair and both Sue and I will be going down to the lake again to push her along.
And what a wonderful surprise it was to get a phone call from Jill Robinson and a big cheer from her team in the background - and how well timed, less than 2km from the finish. You should have seen the smiles when I told the walkers about it at the finish.
There must always be a few special mentions at the end of an event such as this. There were a number of very big donations - you know who you are and thank you.
There were some very special walking efforts. Top distance goes to Sue at 500km, next her brother David at 350 and Lorraine at 155k who finished just in front of our beasts Murray and Monty at 150km - big woofs to the bears from those two! And a special mention to Anne, survivor of Moon Bear Marathon Mark 1, who turned up on many days with her daughter Hana.
On the publicity side we did quite well. A large and two small articles in the Canberra Times and their photographer was at the start today and an interview has just been done with their reporter so we may be in again tomorrow. Two articles in The Canberra Chronicle. Three radio interviews and another in the morning.
And to the treasury - somewhere above $13,000. And now for a cup of tea and Bex and a good lie down.