A Sydney family undertaking an epic 500km walk passed through Boorowa and Young this week, arriving in Young on Tuesday after spending the previous night in Murringo.
Mum Darelle Ratcliff and her daughters Ellie and Tayla are walking the 500km to raise funds for Dementia Australia Research Foundation (DARF).
After leaving from the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Thursday, April 28 the family aims to arrive in Darelle's hometown of West Wyalong this Saturday, May 14.
When ACM caught up with them near Young on Tuesday they had just over 124km of their journey to go.
They have raised more than $40,000 to date plus a pledge from an ex-local businessman of $20 for every kilometre they walk.
Donations can be made at their gofundme page A Walk to Remember.
After arriving in Boorowa on Sunday they made their way to Murringo on Monday and Young on Tuesday.
"We were treated to a beautiful bacon and eggs breakfast at Reavesdale Stud in Murringo where we stopped last night," the ladies said.
While Tayla has picked up a shin splint along the way Darelle said their feet are holding up well, thanks mainly to months of training.
They had originally planned to do the walk last year but it was called off due to COVID, giving them even more time to prepare.
"We were super fit last July and then COVID locked us in Sydney."
Darelle said the family is determined to raise funds having seen the impact of dementia first-hand.
When they found themselves just a few kilometres from Young by midday on Tuesday the ladies were considering knocking over a few more kilometres in the afternoon to get them ahead of the torrential rain expected on Thursday.
"Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia, but there is still so much to learn," Darelle said.
"We are undertaking this challenge because we believe investment in research is the only way to minimise the impact of dementia in the future.
It's a cause close to Darelle's heart and one that is still very raw for the family as they put one foot in front of the other.
"Unfortunately I've lost both my parents to dementia and just the suffering they and the family went through was incredible," she told ACM
"I only lost dad about three weeks ago, he was going to be at the finish line. Back in 2020 one of my daughters said 'let's do something for dementia research'".
"It's so cruel on so many levels. My mum and dad worked so hard all their lives, mum was only 67 when she was diagnosed.
"They had bought a caravan and were ready to the next 10-15 years of their life, enjoying what they had created and that was taken away."
The trio are aiming for an overall target of $50,000,
Maree McCabe AM, CEO, Dementia Australia said the Ratcliff family's commitment to making a difference through this remarkable feat of endurance is inspiring.
"On behalf of everyone at Dementia Australia I extend my sincere thanks to Darelle, Ellie, Tayla, Jessica and Greg for undertaking this challenge, and wish them all the very best of luck," Ms McCabe said.
"By helping to fund vital research, this incredible show of support, determination and generosity will make a tangible difference to people impacted by dementia across Australia."
The event, which was initially planned for 2021 but was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, will see the family make stops in several key communities situated along the route, including:
After their arrival in West Wyalong the family will attend the official A Walk to Remember Arrival Evening event at The West Wyalong Bowling and Recreation Club.
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