A Trekker Profile

Featuring every Trekker who has registered for ChallengeMD! 2011 Mt Blanc. Read about what has motivated each individual to undertake this challenge, and by clicking on ...More... next to each Trekker you can read about the publicity generated for that Trekker.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Even though participants in ChallengeMD! have managed to raise the magnificent sum of $191,873 so far, the MDA is still seeking further support to advance support and information services and to further the current research being undertaken. Both these initiatives will have a significant impact on members of the MD Community.

You can sponsor a Trekker of your choice by a straight donation. You decide how much you want to contribute toward the important work of the MDA. Once you have decided to proceed, click on the "Sponsor Trekker " button adjacent to a selected Trekker to transfer to our secure transaction server. And be very aware every cent or dollar that you contribute toward every step we take, will bring us one step closer! You CAN help in the Fight Muscular Dystrophy Campaign with your sponsorship.

Interested in corporate sponsorship of the event, through naming rights of the event, day or leg of the trek? If so, please visit our Sponsorship page or contact the Executive Director at MDA on 61 3 9320 9555.

Donations and Sponsorship can be remitted directly into the MD bank account.

Banking Details:

Account Name Muscular Dystrophy - ChallengeMD BSB 083 346 Account 01691 0359





Boris M Struk

Trekker - 123

Trekker - Boris M Struk

Profile - Executive Director - MDA

Boris knows only too well the devastating effect that Duchenne MD has had on his son Ryan. He is also no stranger to the challenges faced by a family learning to deal with the reality of life with one of these disorders. Boris' youngest son Ryan has valiantly battled the relentless progression of his disorder for the last 25 years, however as each year progresses his decline in strength seems to solidify Ryan's resolve to fight on.

As Executive Director of the MDA, Boris also knows only too well the devastating effects that MD has on the other members of "our MD Community" and it has been his determination that has seen the MDA evolve over the last two decades to be the robust, reliable and relevant organisation that it is today.

By challenging his own physical and mental stamina, as he did through ChallengeMD! 2006 Vietnam, ChallengeMD 2007 Cambodia, ChallengeMD 2008 China and ChallengeMD 2009 Nepal

Boris hopes to bring others "on the journey" either physically with him or financially by supporting his efforts and those of the other ChallengeMD! Team members.

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $48,938

Daniella Villano

Trekker - 124

Trekker - Daniella Villano

Profile - MDA Neuromuscular Nurse Coordinator

HI! My name is Daniella Villano and I have spent the last 7 years working as a nurse at The Royal Children's Hospital.

During the past years I have taken the opportunity to work closely with children and families affected with neuromuscular conditions as the MDA Neuromuscular Nurse Coordinator.

This opportunity has taught me great deal about the MD community.

Despite the many bright eyed, beautiful faces I see and all the quirky jokes I get told on a daily basis, the reality of each child & family's challenges and suffering are very real. The gaps in services, funding & research are also very real.

The decision to challenge myself in ChallengeMD! 2009 Nepal and once again in this year's Challenge MD! 2011 Mt Blanc was truly based on this.

While my role allows me to dedicate myself as a professional, this challenge will be a personal test of mental and physical endurance to raise greatly needed awareness and funds for all those affected by these devastating conditions.

So be sure that every step taken on all 14 days of trekking will not only be to challenge myself through conditions that I have never experienced, but also to take steps for each little life that has greatly touched mine.

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $8,290

David Hall

Trekker - 126

Trekker - David  Hall

Profile -

The photo you see of me was taken by my son Connor when we were bushwalking recently in the mountains near our home. I am very committed to the MDA cause and the challenge of raising community awareness and funding to support the needs of the muscular dystrophy community in Australia. I have been supporting the MDA for many years through cash donations and raffles though this year I have decided to roll up my sleeves and get serious about the MDA cause! I participated in ChallengeMD! 2009 Nepal and managed to raised $7,769.

ChallengeMD! 2011 Mt Blanc is an excellent opportunity to continue raising funds for MDA!

I live in the ACT and I am married to Debbie. We have four children - Liam (20), Alasdair (16), Connor (12) and Keeley (5). Sadly, our Connor has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He is a brave young man and he inspires me and others around us to do more for those who suffer from these terrible diseases. As you can see from my photo, I am interested in bush-walking. I am also into bicycle riding and I support the Brumbies Rugby Union team.

You are welcome to visit my website which I have established in conjunction with my fundraising activities www.echelleblue.net

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $10,869

Lynne & Michael Pezzullo

Trekker - 127

Trekker - Lynne & Michael Pezzullo

Profile -

Lynne and Michael became interested in helping people with MD in 2007, when Lynne's health economics team at Access Economics researched the cost of MD in Australia. Lynne was very moved by the huge impact that MD has on the lives of young people and their families, and inspired by the positive solutions and enormous commitment provided by MDA. The early onset and chronic disabling nature of most forms of MD mean that its economic and disability burden is very high compared to other health conditions. People whose lives are touched by MD are forever changed.

Lynne and Michael were challenged by the innovative and healthy ways that MD raises funds. Lynne enjoys hiking, having trekked various mountains in Australia, North America and Patagonia. Michael and Lynne celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary in October, and couldn't resist the opportunity to celebrate by helping out MDA through ChallengeMD 2009 Nepal.

Lynne and Michael have yet again committed to continue their support of MD by participating in ChallengeMD 2011 Mt Blanc.

Research into the causes, care and cure of MD is a very worthy objective - and Lynne and Michael both strongly support ethical medical research.

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $15,800

Joy Goubran

Trekker - 131

Trekker - Joy Goubran

Profile - Occupational Therapist

Hi I'm Joy, the Occupational Therapist in the Neuromuscular Clinic at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne.  The countless lessons I have learnt from working with this remarkable population of children and their families has led me to participate in ChallengeMD 2011 Mt Blanc

Those who know me know I am certainly not one to willingly put away my high heels (especially in exchange for a pair of trekking boots); nor am I one to take the stairs if a lift is readily available! However this situation is different.   The life of a person with a neuromuscular disorder is full of daily physical and mental challenges.  Unlike my decision to undertake this challenge, for these individuals and their loved ones, dealing with their challenges day-in day-out is not a choice.  More importantly, is that without essential funds to provide services and to support critical research, these individuals face their challenges alone.  In the time that I have been at RCH, I have come to know hundreds of kids and families affected by neuromuscular disorders.   All these children are amazing and have huge potential to do wonderful things, yet everyday prove that nothing of what they achieve comes without a challenge.   So for people affected by neuromuscular disorders, this is my challenge that in turn I hope will help you with yours.

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $7,601

Lisa Evans

Trekker - 132

Trekker - Lisa Evans

Profile - Jack's Mum

Genetic disorders are only rare until they happen to you.
When my eldest son Jack was 8 months old I was to learn that he was affected with a progressive degenerative neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. In short it causes his muscles to waste away leaving him unable to roll, sit, crawl or walk. The muscles that control swallowing and breathing  are also affected. Jack is fed entirely via a gastrostomy tube and relies on a suction machine to clear secretions from his mouth. A ventilator is also used to help him breathe at night. Jack spends his days in an electric wheelchair. Spinal Muscular Atrophy is one of the 50+ Neuromuscular Disorders that MDA support. MDA play a critical role in not only Jack's life but in that of my entire family. We rely on MDA for ongoing support, information and respite. Jack not only attends CampMDA during school holidays but enjoys participating in a  handful of OperationMD ShortBreak each year. They not only give us a break but give Jack wonderful social opportunities and the unique ability to be independent from us.
For me ChallengeMD 2011 Mt Blanc is not just about the destination, it's about the journey. It's about having the opportunity to create awareness of the services that MDA provide, and about using this as a vehicle to give back . Its also about teaching my 2 younger children about the need to create awareness for MDA and about the role that fundraising plays in all the things Jack does. They are not too young to learn or to participate.

ChallengeMD 2011 Mt Blanc is also about me pushing the limits physically-because I can. With a child like Jack I never for one minute take for granted what my body can do. Jack is my inspiration for this challenge but not far from my mind are the 50 plus kids and adults I see having the time of their lives at CampMDA.

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $11,567

Magic Show - 25th Feb

Bunnings BBQ - 5th March

Shmik Events

Spice Island


Nicolle Bruhn

Trekker - 133

Trekker - Nicolle Bruhn

Profile - Mum

Hi,I'm Nicolle I have been inspired to do ChallengeMD 2011 Mt Blanc by a friend who completed ChallengeMD Vietnam 2006 and by all the other inspirational and positive people in my life.

I'm a couple of years off turning 40, I'm fit and healthy and I don't take it for granted. I want to take this opportunity to do something that challenges me mentally and physically. I am hoping to be a role model for my two daughters and to show them to live life and that you can make a difference.

ChallengeMD 2011 Mf Blanc I thought would be a great way to get involved and to participate in a wonderful charity that that makes a difference to so many people. The challenge that I will endure doing the 14 day trek is only minor to what people affected by muscular dystrophy experience on a daily basis.

With ongoing research and support one day we will Beat MD!!!!

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $8,345

Magic Show - 25th Feb

Bunnings BBQ - 5th March

Anne Rogers

Trekker - 134

Trekker - Anne  Rogers

Profile - Wings Away Travel

My name is Anne Rogers. I am 59, and live in Strathmore Victoria. I am married to Barry and we have a lovely daughter, Stephanie who is 22. I own and operate Wings Away Travel in Essendon Victoria, to which I have been enslaved for 25 years. Last year I appointed a General Manager with a view to stepping back from the daily business grind and doing some discretionary activities which don't involve the business.

I have been a member of the Committee of Management at MDA for many years, and while I have always been keenly interested in, and supported Boris' annual challenges, I have never been in a position to take part. My participation this year is my first real foray into the world outside of my business at once exciting and daunting, because in order to take part (and not be the one to take the cable car each day!), I have to get myself into shape. That process is well and truly underway, and I am really looking forward to taking up the challenge in June/July.

I am thrilled at the prospect of each of my sponsored steps contributing to the search for a cure for this insidious disease and I hope to raise lots of $$$$ for the cause. Throughout the process, our entire group will work hard to increase awareness of MD both within our individual family and social circles and the community at large.

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $10,760

Paul & Christine Freestone

Trekker - 135

Trekker - Paul & Christine Freestone

Profile -

Last year we trekked through Spain on the Camino de Santiago over 800 klms.Paul rode his bike, I walked, it was a life changing experience. Anne Rogers mentioned the Challenge MD 2011 Mt Blanc, we immediately decided to join her. We operate an interstate transport company based in Tullamarine this year celebrating 30 years so now is the time in our lives for adventure.

My thoughts: The challenge of trekking over glorious mountains through three countries and raising money for Muscular Dystrophy is a privilege and a dream. We have been blessed with healthy daughters and grandchildren, our hearts go out to families affected by this disorder.

Paul's thoughts: I love the challenge, how fortunate that we can take it on, whereas the people we are raising funds for can only follow our progress via the web. I have had 3 back operations, open heart surgery etc. etc., I have been blessed, the good Lord just keep standing me up. Unfortunately I have difficulty walking, even short distances, so for me the challenge will be riding up and down the mountains to meet the group each night.

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $19,547

Rachel Broadmore

Trekker - 136

Trekker - Rachel Broadmore

Profile - Physiotherapist

Hi there, my name is Rachel Broadmore, I am a Physiotherapist and a Kiwi! After moving across the ditch, I was lucky enough to get a job at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne where I have been working for just over 2 years. For the last year I have been working in our MDA Neuromuscular Clinic where I have had the chance to meet, and get to know, loads of wonderful children and families affected by devastating conditions.

I have learnt so much about the everyday challenges these families face and, unfortunately, the significant gaps in services and funding. My role enables me to advocate for these children and try my best to maximise their independence and quality of life. I feel so fortunate to be able to work with such fantastic kids. Each and every one of them has honestly touched my heart in one way or another. Their incredibly positive mindset and huge personalities disguise all the challenges they face everyday, however these challenges continue to exist.

ChallengeMD 2011 Mt Blanc is a chance for me to push myself both physically and mentally to increase awareness and help raise funds for all of those affected by Muscular Dystrophy. I love exercise and I am often competing in sporting events for charity however, Mt Blanc will be far more personal as, every step of the way, I will be thinking of all of the kids I now know personally.

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $8,290

Rebecca Fraser

Trekker - 137

Trekker - Rebecca Fraser

Profile - Paediatric Nurse

Hi my name is Rebecca Fraser. I am a 27 year old sister, daughter, grand-daughter, aunty, avid Carlton supporter and cyclist, but most importantly a paediatric nurse. I work in the Emergency department at the Royal Children's Hospital in which I am passionate about delivering high quality care to sick children. Through my work at the hospital I became aware of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the great work they do in supporting and caring for children with Muscular Dystrophy.

I began volunteering my time to take young kids away on short weekend trips (OperationMD ShortBreak) to enable them to experience new things in life whilst having fun and give their parents much needed respite. The joy that weekends like this bring to the children's faces is indescribable and immeasurable. Personally life has dealt me many challenges. A major obstacle was the loss of sight and the need to endure two corneal transplants. The gift of sight has changed my life dramatically and for which I am truly grateful. My goal in life is to give back to others where ever possible, just like the special person who did the same for me.

Through conquering the peaks of Mt Blanc I will be raising much needed money to enrich and improve the lives of precious children. The trek is going to be another huge personal challenge, but a challenge I am determined to complete and nothing in comparison to the hardships that young people with Muscular Dystrophy endure. So please join me on my mission by sponsoring me to conquer Mt Blanc in 2011 and raise much needed funds to provide respite, research and equipment for all people affected by MD. "HELP ME FIGHT MD".

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $6,325

Simone Cramer

Trekker - 138

Trekker - Simone Cramer

Profile - Fitness Industry

I am 36 years old, live in Melbourne and work in the fitness industry.

I was introduced to the Muscular Dystrophy Association and ChallengeMD 2011 Mt Blanc by a close friend (and previous Challenger). I don't have a personal connection with a family affected by Muscular Dystrophy, however through my participation in this Challenge have learnt a lot about Muscular Dystrophy.

I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to participate in ChallengeMD 2011 Mt Blanc. I look forward to challenging my physical boundaries to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association by raising public awareness about Muscular Dystrophy and raising funds that will make a difference to the lives of people within the MD community.

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $10,205

Sarah Heard

Trekker - 139

Trekker - Sarah Heard

Profile - Geologist

Hi, my name is Sarah and I live in Western Victoria where I work as a geologist. I enjoy running, keeping fit, traveling and looking at rocks. I live on a farm with my mum, dad and younger sister and brother, Georgy. As well as my younger sister and me, Georgy has two older sisters and together we make a large and very close family.

Nine years ago Georgy was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. In these years he has met many challenges and achieved many things. By the time this is published I will have seen my brother off to his first day of high school, where he will be able to actually walk into his classroom. This would not have been possible without years of therapy and the strong support we have received from those who work closely with Georgy. Our family has donated to the MDA in the past but through ChallengeMD 2011 Mt Blanc I want to become involved in the MDA community and raise funds so that other children with neuromuscular disorders can reach important milestones in their lives. Secondly, I am a strong believer in the scientific research currently being undertaken and the hope it provides. Better therapies are just around the corner and eventually a cure.

ChallengeMD 2011 Mt Blanc will give me a chance to increase awareness of a worthy cause. I know that despite the great challenge of this expedition I will have great fun in getting to know others in the MDA community.

Even if I have half the will and determination of my little brotherm together with your help I know I can achieve my fundraising goal and conquer that mountain!

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $9,788

Yvonne Chiu

Trekker - 140

Trekker - Yvonne Chiu

Profile - Laboratory Assistant

I've just turned 22 and am a Laboratory Assistant in Western Australia. Although I have been in WA for most of my life, I was actually born Canadian and studied in Singapore before finally settling in Perth. I've just graduated last year with a BSc in Biomedical Science and Molecular Biology, so although I have don't have a direct link to somebody who has MD, I am fully aware of the debilitating horrors of this disorder.

I found out about Challenge MD! 2011 Mt Blanc Trekking Challenge from a colleague who had completed the ChallengeMD 2007 Cambodia, and found it a very inspiring thing to do. Working in a medical environment, I have seen young children with this terrible condition, their families tired but grateful for everything done to ease their childs' frustration. If people had the gift of perfect health, why not give some time up to help others who don't? I have never done any sort of frequent (rather- any) exercise other than being forced to go up and down stairs, not to mention something as mind-boggling (painful and insane) as mountain trekking Mt Blanc for days on end... But the effort will definitely be worth it!

I love traveling and have no doubts that as difficult as this trek would be for all of us trekkers, we would be enjoying every milestone knowing that our efforts have gone to a great cause. You donations are deeply encouraging and will be much appreciated, no matter how little. Here's my blog up to the exciting event! www.bcause1can.blogspot.com

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $6,906

Kelly Canavan

Trekker - 141

Trekker - Kelly Canavan

Profile - Business Manager - Australian Moulding Company

Hello, I'm a mother of two beautiful children Georgia and Michael and I also have the good fortune of being the "Jackstar's" god mother (or should I say of Jack Evans). Jack is an extremely gorgeous boy who has lots of spunk, determination and continues to exceed everyone's expectations with the challenges that having Muscular Atrophy place on him daily.

Late last year, Jack's Mum and my closest friend, Lisa Evans (fellow trekker) called and said I have found a challenge that we need to complete. It takes us back overseas (which will make us feel young again), requires fitness (we love a fitness challenge) and will help support the organisation that allows Jack to go on all of his camps. How could I say "No"! Having visited Jack on one of his many MD Camps, I totally understand how important these camps are to Jack and his family and the wonderful opportunities they provide for him. All of the staff at the camps and the carers are amazing people. Fundraising for an organisation that supports Jack and his family is personally very rewarding!

Twenty years ago Lisa and I headed overseas as two fresh faced 21 year olds with the world at our feet. Twenty years later we are heading overseas once again, this time to fundraise for MDA. Life throws you many unexpected obstacles and opportunities. With characteristic determination, resilience and optimism, plus a whole heap of support from family and friends, I have achieved things that I thought were impossible. Now I'm looking forward to conquering Mt Blanc in ChallengeMD 2011 and hopefully setting an example for my own children (and reminding myself) that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it! Jack is a shining example of that!

Sponsorship Target -

Current Sponsorship - $8,642

Saturday 2nd April 2011 - "Train the Trainer"

Sunday 1st May 2011 - "Fun Run at Lilydale Lakes"

Total ChallengeMD! Sponsorship received to date $191,873

Help Make a Difference with your contribution.