LUKE's Wellness Walk 2016

The Wellness Walk & Research Run 2016

With over 2000 punters signed up for Sunday’s Wellness Walk & Research Run, Melbourne put its best foot forward and graced us with beautiful, blue skies and sunshine. Olivia Newton-John credits her husband, John, for the great weather. She says, “Wherever John goes, he brings out the sun!”

Olivia, dressed in the colours of the ONJ Cancer Wellness & Research Centre, looked stunning and radiant. It was lovely to see husband John Easterling, nieces Tottie and Fiona Goldsmith, and several other members of the Goldsmith and Newton-John family turn up to support her.

After an appearance with four-time Olympian Steve Moneghetti and Bindi Irwin from Australia Zoo at a VIP breakfast at La Trobe University’s Eagle Bar, Olivia spoke with media and posed for photographs on the bar’s outside wooden deck.

Having taken out both Highest Individual Fundraiser and Highest Fundraising Team, The Sol 7 (Mindy Verson, Chris Rutherford, Luke Brighty, Michael Wing Lun, Kimberley van Proctor, Dianne Cavanagh Paynting, Ayleisha Plant, Alessandro Cerutti and Sandra Rüttgers) posed for several group pictures with Olivia. One of the shots features a laminated picture held by Olivia of German teammate, Sandra, who couldn’t be with us on the day.

Livvy then made her way to the stage to welcome everyone and perform her iconic song, Physical. It took a while for the DJ to find the correct track to play which left an amused (or bemused) Olivia adlibbing. Sooner or later, Physical came through the loudspeakers and Livvy got the crowd going with a sing-a-long while niece Fiona limbered up the walkers and runners with warm-up exercises.

La Trobe University is located in a beautiful bushland setting 14 kilometres from Melbourne’s city centre. The 5km walk took us partially along the campus perimeter before winding its way back along a lovely gum tree-lined waterway to the main entertainment area. Olivia set off like a rocket at the beginning of the walk and kept us going at a fast and steady pace right until the very end. Boy is that woman fit!

After a small Cinderella-like wardrobe malfunction during the walk which saw Olivia momentarily lose a shoe, she managed to make up for lost time and caught up with us as we neared the finishing line. It was nice to see everyone interacting casually and Olivia speaking to walkers about their personal cancer journeys and experiences along the way.

Michael and I had the opportunity to chat with Olivia and Fiona about what Australians miss the most when living or travelling overseas and agreed that not being able to wake up to birdsong was high on the list. What seemed to impress Olivia was how loud Australian birds were compared to other countries. “Of course they’re loud,” I said, laughing. “They’re Aussies!”

The community spirit and goodwill at La Trobe University were palpable at the Wellness Walk & Research Run. Everyone had a great time and much money was raised. To date, over $227,000 was donated to the ONJCW&RC, $41,000 of which was raised by team Sol 7. Great job everyone and thanks for making the day so much fun!

x Luke

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