The West

Telethon adventurers Damian Sullivan, Tim Prast, Jono Oreo, Michelle Bennetts, Katie Colgan, Marie Bermingham, Nathan and Connie Colgan. Picture: Supplied

As the sun rose over one of the Kokoda Trail's most famous battle sites on Anzac Day, a group of West Australians paused to reflect.

It was a touching moment many months in the making for the once strangers on a six-day trek that united them in the goal of helping fight childhood cancers.

The group spent almost a week battling the trail's physical and emotional toll to raise $50,000 for Telethon Adventurers with inspiration from the Diggers who fought on that hallowed ground and many families and children back home.

Founded in 2010 by Emily and Rick Parish after their little boy Elliot contracted medulloblastoma, the Adventurers have raised $4.6 million for the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and Princess Margaret Hospital.

Elliot lost his fight but the charity continues to raise funds through donations and large-scale adventures that enable people to raise money while pushing themselves to achieve.

Adventurer Gary Kingston said children lost to cancer and the families and kids still fighting never left his mind on the trail. "They all go wherever we go," he said.

He said Kokoda was probably the hardest Adventurers' task yet with its 12-hour hilly hikes and sleeping on hut floors. One trekker hurt his knee on the second last day and was evacuated in a helicopter.

The group left flags and photos of young cancer patients on the track, including a memorial to Elliot.

The West Australian

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