The Day That Restored My Faith In Miracles

27 May 2021

Di Westaway | Chief Adventure Chick | Wild Women On Top

Last year I lost my faith in miracles.

Last week it was restored.

While we’re feeling for for our Melbourne wild women who have gone back into another hard COVID lockdown, we’re also counting our lucky stars.

Incredibly, we managed to squeeze our biggest event ever in between two COVID clusters. Last Friday, 4,000 dashing and dancing Melbourne Coastrekkers walked 60km or 30km from Cape Schanck to Point Nepean and raised an astonishing $2,950,000 for mental health.

This is a herculean community effort, which has brought joy to thousands of wild women walkers. This incredible fundraising effort will help fund Beyond Blue’s 24/7 support service to assist those in need.  

I want to give an extra special shout out to our top fundraising team, ForPhil, who have raised over $45,000 for mental health.

Team captain, Rebecca Bedford, said they walked 30km “in memory of Phil Bisset who was many things to us: work friend, mentor, best mate, planning guru, teacher, confidante and Dad (to Andy). Phil died in April 2020 during the lockdown. His passing was a terrible shock to us all. We loved him dearly. We miss him terribly: his crazy stories, his belly laugh and his goofy smile. This intelligent, generous, witty man had a huge impact on our lives and will continue to do so. We must continue to have honest conversations about anxiety and depression. And so we walk for you, Phil.”

On Friday, we heard so many wonderful stories of hope, recovery, gratitude, and love. We heard countless stories of women supporting women for their own mental health as well their loved ones.

We heard from Jess Marshall, who wrote: “Thank you to Coastrek and Beyond Blue for one of the most memorable days of my life on Friday. I don’t really have the words to express how incredible it was - and so many others have already - but I wanted to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

One of our favourite things about doing this walk was being in the company of so many women. Hearing snippets of conversation, meeting the eyes of fellow wearied walkers, exchanging warm smiles and grimaces as we trekked around the peninsula. Observing the sound of breath being drawn in and out as each person put one foot in front of the other. Realising afresh that the things that connect the hearts of women - and indeed all humankind - are far greater than anything that could attempt to divide us.

I got to spend four days in the sea air with these three wonderful women; my women, my friends. We walked again on Sunday, slowly, and with much more time to gaze at the sea. About 23 kilometres into the walk on Friday, my heart and eyes were bursting with love and awe and exhaustion and marvel at the long string of events over years that brought me there, to be walking along those cliffs with women - thousands of them - but these three especially. How fortunate we are."

We heard from Jen Amadei, who wrote: "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow. Tears, joy, gratitude, laughs, sand, bush tracks, stairs and oh, the views. Camaraderie, kindness, understanding and connection.

A cup-filling, life-giving experience so that we could humbly raise funds to offer support for those struggling with mental health and wellbeing. Thank you to Wild Women On Top, the volunteers and Coastrek 2021 supporters."

Bianca Gold, said: "Thanks for the memories Wild Women On Top Coastrek 2021! Our team started our 30kms with smiles and ended it with smiles too! Just a couple of grumbles in between.

“We were super impressed with the finish line set up - food, wine, hot drinks, pretty lights, music and atmosphere. Made us feel welcomed, appreciated and celebrated.

Thanks to the wonderful organisers; the fabulous people on the start, finish and in between cheering us on; the lovely appreciative "Beyond Blue lady" who took our podium photo; and every single person that made the day what it was!"

We’re ever so grateful to have been able to run our event after a year of Covid cancellations.

I want to express a big heartfelt thanks to everybody who helped make this possible. From the ambassadors and the wild women and men who hiked, to their donors who gave generously, to the vollies who whooped and championed our Coastrekkers across the finish line. I want to thank our event partners, Rapid Ascent, Tap Wine who provided our prosecco, our photo/video team Saxall, Tomato Timing, our stakeholders at Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and Vic Parks & Wildlife Service, our sponsor CamelBak, our product partners Woolworths, Shelby’s Healthy Hedonism, Table of Plenty, Ocean Spray and Remedy Kombucha, our service partners Peninsula Foot Clinic, Performance Medicine, Rosebud Remedial Massage and our First Aid team from St Johns. We couldn’t have done it without you. Big thanks for your love, passion and support. And, of course, our amazing team at Wild Women on Top and Beyond Blue, who put so much love, skill and care into ensuring every one of our trekkers has the best day possible. Thank you.