Kylie Matthews & Vicki Dekker
Cause: Breast Cancer Network Australia
Adventure: BCNA Pink Lady El Camino Trek
Fundraising Page: https://donate.grassrootz.com/bcna/el-camino/cousins-on-the-camino
Our Fundraisers of the Month have scored themselves a $50 donation! To be our next month’s winner, make sure you’re uploading your journey to social and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired and well as your adventure hashtag.
Tell us about yourselves
We are Vicki and Kylie – cousins and besties who have together navigated the ups and downs of life over the past four decades – through childhood and puberty, boyfriends and breakups, weddings and babies … and breast cancer. Vicki’s diagnosis of breast cancer in 2008, at the age of 32, was a devastating blow that shook our entire family to the core. But, after undergoing extensive treatment and surgery, and receiving support from amazing organisations such as the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA), we’re thrilled to report that Vicki’s cancer has been in remission since 2010. Many, many other amazing women in our lives have been diagnosed with breast cancer as well, including other close family members, dear friends and work colleagues. For this reason, we’ve been dedicated to fundraising for research and essential support for women with breast cancer. Over the years, we’ve taken part in fun runs to raise money and even sold pink ribbons to guests at Kylie’s wedding!
What inspired you to take on your first Inspired Adventure for BCNA?
Vicki: BCNA was the very first organisation that I came in contact with after being diagnosed – in fact, it was within hours that someone had provided me with a ‘My Journey’ kit. So it has always been an organisation that I feel closely linked to, and has provided me with much needed information & support. When the email came through about the trek I forwarded it through to Kylie who was totally on board, we had spoken numerous times about doing the trek together and this was the perfect combination of our passion for raising money for breast cancer and our long held dream to trek the Camino together.
Kylie: Vicki and I have been actively fundraising for breast cancer support and research for quite a few years already to give back to the awesome organisations that supported Vicki during her own battle with breast cancer. Both of us have always wanted to walk the Camino in Spain, so when the email from BCNA landed in Vicki’s email box earlier this year, she forwarded it straight to me and I replied immediately with a ‘HELL YES!’
How are you feeling about the challenge ahead? Have you ever been to Spain before?
Vicki: So excited! I have never been to Spain so I have the added excitement of travelling to a country that I have never visited before. I also can’t wait to meet our group of fellow pilgrims and hear their stories of what inspired them on this journey. I have never undertaken a trek of this magnitude but I know that as a group we will have so much driving us to complete the trek.
Kylie: I’m really excited about the challenge. Since we committed to it, I’ve been walking most days in preparation and as a result, I’ve lost quite a bit of weight and I’m feeling fitter than I’ve felt in years. Yes, I’ve been to Spain several times as a traveller and adore it. But no, I’ve never walked a five-day trek before!
What have been some of the highlights of your fundraising experience so far?
Vicki: The highlights with anything like this is seeing just how generous people can be, and it’s not always those closest to you and it’s not the amount that they are giving. It’s having people donate that you haven’t seen for a while or may not know very well – or at all. It really shows you how passionately people feel about cancer and the devastating effect it can have.
Kylie: For me, it has been the enthusiasm of my friends and family about what we’re doing and why – the support has been overwhelming! The initial donation flurry when we announced our Camino challenge was also lots of fun. Also, Vicki and I live interstate from one another so our fundraising gives us a great excuse to chat almost every day, which is awesome!
What have been your biggest challenges in taking on an Inspired Adventure? How did you overcome this?
Vicki: Definitely the fear that I won’t make it. Having never completed anything as physically demanding before definitely plays on my mind but I just think of how amazing the experience will be and the sense of achievement that we will feel at the end.
Kylie: It was my poor level of fitness… I realised early on that I would need to go from ‘zero to hero’ and that was pretty confronting. But it was also a great incentive to get fit for what is going to be an amazing adventure in Spain with my cousin!
Have you noticed any changes or transformation in your life since signing up for the challenge?
Vicki: Just a renewed sense of what is important in life – family, friends and enjoying every moment. It was such a prominent feeling after completing cancer treatment but as time has gone by it’s so easy to get weighed-down with the day-to-day. I’m so happy to be living in this space again.
Kylie: I’m feeling fitter and healthier and really enjoying doing something that has the potential to help so many people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are going through treatment. For me personally, it’s about turning what was once a really tough experience for Vicki into something extremely positive.
What are you most looking forward to about your upcoming adventure?
Vicki: Spending time with my cousin. They say that cousins are your first friends in life and with Kylie and I being so close in age she was definitely my first friend. I can’t wait to create a memory with her that will last a lifetime. We each have two children and showing them what it means to be family, to commit to something bigger than yourself, is such an incentive. Plus … sangria!
Kylie: I’m most looking forward hanging out with Vic in Spain! I love an adventure and have always been a big traveller. But being a busy mum-of-two I’ve had limited opportunities over the last decade or so to travel and take on these types of challenges. But now much kids are a bit older, I feel ready to get out there again and, in the process, set a good example to my children about the importance of family, charity.
What advice would you offer to other people looking to complete a challenge like this?
Vicki: Just take the leap… the first step is always the hardest.
Kylie: Do it! It’s about SO MUCH MORE than just raising money – it’s also about intention and purpose. Once you’ve made the commitment, the energy it evokes propels you forward and suddenly all of these amazing opportunities to fundraise for BCNA just seem to pop up in front of you.
Become our Fundraiser of the Month to win a $50 donation from Inspired Adventures
Take a picture of your in fundraising action and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired and your adventure hashtag. The most exciting use of the hashtag, with a fundraising focus will be our Adventurer of the Month – it’s that easy!
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