Pat is taking a (very) lengthy stroll to assist finish human trafficking

Pat O’Neill loves a protracted stroll. And thank goodness for that, as a result of on Sunday 9 October, the senior graphic designer from Intrepid’s world headquarters might be strolling a full marathon – that’s 42 km – to boost funds as a part of the Blue Dragon Marathon Stroll.

The annual occasion is a joint fundraising undertaking between the Intrepid Basis, the not-for-profit arm of Intrepid Journey, and the Blue Dragon Kids’s Basis, an organisation devoted to serving to trafficked, enslaved and homeless youth in Vietnam. 

These participating within the marathon can select their problem – a full (42 km) or half marathon (21 km) – then increase funds that may go on to serving to Blue Dragon change lives and raise susceptible folks out of poverty. Since approaching board to help the Marathon Stroll in 2018, Intrepid has helped improve fundraising from about $20,000 a yr to over $190,000 in 2021.

Pat O’Neill will get some (COVID-safe) steps in close to his house in Melbourne, Australia.

For the final 15 years – since lengthy earlier than the Marathon Stroll started in 2015 – Intrepid has been championing Blue Dragon’s necessary work, which covers 4 key pillars: stopping human trafficking in high-risk communities; rescuing folks from slavery in Vietnam and neighbouring nations; collaborating with authorities companies on regulation reform to discourage trafficking; and offering therapeutic, justice and academic alternatives to rescued folks recovering from trauma.

For Pat, Vietnam – with its “lovely folks and wonderful meals” – holds a particular place in his coronary heart. He’s visited the nation 3 times on separate Intrepid journeys, and even visited Blue Dragon’s HQ in Hanoi in 2016.

“I really like Vietnam,” he says. “They’ve been by means of a lot during the last 50 years, and have largely come out the opposite facet, however there are nonetheless a couple of individuals who have been left behind. Strolling the marathon is a small manner of serving to Blue Dragon proceed to do their good work.”

That is the third time Pat’s taking up the marathon stroll. And sure, it’s concerning the charity – nevertheless it’s concerning the problem, too. And there’s nothing like publicly committing to a trigger that will help you follow an intention. “Difficult myself to do one thing is the easiest way to ensure I observe by means of and do it,” he says. “Now I’m pounding the pavement each probability I get to coach.”

Kicking off the 2021 Blue Dragon Marathon Stroll in Melbourne’s leafy suburbs.

This yr, Pat might be beginning his stroll within the Melbourne suburb of North Carlton earlier than following some river trails into the guts of the town. After a half-time lunch break in Federation Sq., he’ll head again the way in which he got here and end up with a well-deserved beer at a B Corp brewery in his house suburb of Brunswick. The stroll will take roughly a full working day.

“I’ve eight hours of podcasts lined up able to go,” he says. He additionally lists his different marathon necessities: snacks and ample water top-ups.

The final time he did the marathon, again throughout the COVID lockdowns of 2020, he walked alongside an out-of-use practice monitor by means of the luxurious and hilly Dandenong Ranges, an hour exterior of Melbourne. “It was fairly tough on the ft, particularly over the last 5 to 10 km,” he remembers. “After I hit the aim, I used to be nonetheless a couple of kilometres from house, so I referred to as my spouse and stated I assumed I might make it… earlier than calling her again instantly, asking her to drive the couple of minutes to select me up, and collapsing into the automobile.”

Finally, sore ft are a small value to pay for all the great that comes from strolling the marathon. On the very least, the lengthy stroll supplies loads of moments for introspection, and a little bit of perspective. “Youngsters being trafficked into slavery shouldn’t be one thing that you simply see as attainable, however it’s occurring world wide,” says Pat. “What you undergo within the stroll is nothing like what the kids at Blue Dragon have been by means of previously.”

You’ll be able to donate to help Pat’s efforts – or register to fundraise and full the marathon your self on Sunday October 9 – on the Blue Dragon Marathon Stroll homepage.


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