Gary and his team complete another “Everest on Mt Coolum” trek
Thursday, 12th August 2021

Today we celebrate the achievements of Gary and his team of Everest Trekkers – our heroes for a number of years now! They recently completed there trekking challenge – to walk the same distance as Everest from wherever they are in Australia. Most of the group are from QLD and completed the trek together on Mt Coolum, ascending the mountain 42 times over a week.

This year so far, the team have raised $4,625, and over the 3 years that Gary has hosted an Everest Trek his teams have collectively raised $20,269 for Parkinson’s research. An amazing achievement! We asked Gary to tell his story.


What drives your commitment to a cure for Parkinson’s?

With the present focus in the media on the virus, a huge amount of attention is drawn away from people living their lives with PD. At dinner last evening we had some friends over, one of whom has PD  which is somewhat advanced. The fellows attitude and his wifes attitude is inspiring, always positive, looking for the next adventure and how they can achieve it. Not letting PD get in the way if possible. Added to this is my walking partner, Tina Beard, she has family with PD and so knows first hand what it is like to live with PD and of course my daily work on an Acute Restorative Care ward, caring for elderly with PD as well as other illnesses, so there is not a day that PD is not a focus.


Tell us what inspired the Everest on Mt Coolum Trek 2021?

With our travel plans again disrupted, we decided that we could again do the Everesting thing, however we thought that July would be a little easier on the body, as last year we did it in October and it was hot and humid. this time it was a lot cooler.   What we didnt plan for was lockdowns, in NSW, VIC and SA and we only just got our Everesting in in time before QLDs lockdown.

Who was on the team?

Tina Beard, Keegan Bean, Kevin Lowe, Justin Saggus, Ailsa McKitterick Gillett, Gearson Chagas and myself. In Victoria Nicole Coughlin was set to help but was held up by lockdowns, She subsequently helped by building the Website, to support the sponsors

What were some of the highlights of the challenge?

The highlights of the challenge were the positive comments received from the public as they chatted with us at Mt Coolum and Mt Gnunnun, all were supportive, some thought we were a little crazy , but largely supportive.  The local media, Coast ABC , My Weekly Preview, Sunshine Coast Daily, Sunshine Valley Gazzette, provided very good coverage, 92,7FM gave us some news updates, we wanted more and we tried everyone even The Project, without success.  Doing live radio is always an interesting encounter to experience.

Any tricky parts?

Getting up each day to the 4.00am alarm regardless of the weather, is always tricky.  And on the third day, we were both fatigued, had sore feet, calves, legs in general, Tinas feet were taped up each day, and i needed to stretch each day afterwards for about an hour, Off to bed each night by 7.30pm and await the 4.00am alarm.

Anyone you’d like to say thank you to who helped you with this project?

The support of our major sponsors was again amazing, Century 21 On Duporth, Australian Off Road, Wear In Business, Edgeelectrolytes, Headskinz, and Maxiblok Sunscreen.

Plans for 2022?

While we are still fundraising for  Everest Trek 2021,  this event, we have begun planning 2022, hoping to be bigger and better bigger goals, hoping for a national approach with 20 teams of 4 each, so 80 people, we are currently working on approaching a national sponsor. Assuming we can travel the goal will be to take several groups to Mt Everest Base Camp as a reward for their fundraising efforts,which they will self fund,  we will set a minimum fundraising goal for each group and encourage and support all groups to engage with their local media


You can help Gary and the team by donating to their challenge. 

You can make a difference by challenging yourself for Parkinson’s and fundraising. Run, walk, dance, swim, cycle or something of your own imagination! 100% of the funds you raise will go directly to Australian Parkinson’s research. Find out more today.