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Carolyn Riordan and Penni Ellis are walking the Bibbulmun Track to raise awareness on lung cancer.


Despite being a non-smoker, Carolyn Riordan, daughter of one of the Track’s founders, Peter Hewett, has lung cancer. In a tribute to their Dad’s legacy, Carolyn and her sister, Penni Ellis, are walking the Bibbulmun Track to raise awareness that 10 to 15% of people who contract the disease have never smoked.

On Mother’s Day weekend last year Carolyn was given the devastating news. She had lung cancer – Australia’s biggest cancer killer – and it had spread to her bones and brain. She joined a campaign to remind medics, as well as the public, that one in three women and one in ten men diagnosed with the illness have never smoked and that more funding is needed for research.

Penni and Carolyn chose to walk the Bibbulmun Track as a fitting tribute to their father, the late Peter Hewett who worked in the Forests Department back in 1972. He was part of the enthusiastic planning team who designed on paper a Lancelin-to-Albany walk, via the Leeuwin-Naturaliste ridge, but in ensuing months it was realised this was unrealistic, and this proposition was abandoned in favour of a shorter Kalamunda to Northcliffe proposal. It was at this time that the name Bibbulmun Track was adopted and the first alignment of the Track was marked on the ground in March 1974.

Peter Hewett and Geoff Schafer at the 10th Anniversary celebrations in 2008
Peter Hewett and Geoff Schafer at the 10th Anniversary celebrations in 2008

‘Remembering our Dad, Peter Hewett, today and his wonderful contribution to the creation of the Bibbulmun Track. He was a man of many hats but his favourite was probably his hard hat.’

Carolyn is walking the Track in three parts. The first stage kicked off in Albany on the 13th April. The second stage started in June and the third stage will be in October 2019.

Day 14: Mt Clare (Shedley Drive) to Mandalay Beach

Three of her four daughters, Courtney, 26, Brittany, 24, Gabrielle, 22, and Elyse, 16, will join her on the walk. “I do have a partially collapsed lung where the main tumour is. Hills present a big challenge for me,” she said.

‘Our Dad, Peter Hewett, is with us every step of the way. We have our scout/guide toggles on our backpacks in honour of Dad and his old Forest Department compass helping guide our journey — in Northcliffe, Western Australia.’

Carolyn and her sister Penni arrived at Harvey-Quindanning Rd having left Yourdamung Campsite for their 20th day on the Track.

To support Carolyn’s efforts please donate today, via: https://bit.ly/2ZDQ1DX .