AllCommunity NewsJosh Kerwick

SONIA AND TODD Soldiering on for Charity

Early this morning (Friday February 23rd), Sonia and Todd Young tied up the laces on their walking shoes and fastened their travelling packs to begin their 422km on-foot journey from Bligh Park to Port Macquarie.

The long walk is all to raise money for Soldier On, a not-for-profit organisation that looks to assist both former and current members of the Australian Defence Force by delivering important support services. It’s a cause close to Sonia’s heart, knowing first hand the effect that war can have on veterans returning home.

“My dad, Morrie, was conscripted into the Vietnam War,” Sonia says. “He was badly injured there in an incident where an APC hit a landmine. Over the years, he was in and out of hospital and he was eventually confined to a wheelchair, but through it all kept a good outlook on life.

He used to say ‘There’s always someone worse off than yourself.’ My mum was his full-time carer, but they would travel around Australia a lot in a Kombi Van and motorhome. Although he died in 2017, we thought the story of my mum and dad was inspiring, and that this was a good cause to help other people.”

Having heard the experiences of her father firsthand, Sonia and Todd find it important to raise funds for current members of the ADF and veterans. Sonia says: “We’ve had discussions where we both agree we would not be the people to go to war. When people come back, they have all of these memories and things to cope with. And that’s what Soldier On is there for, to help them through those difficult times.”

20240213 0728266 Sonia And Todd Soldiering On For Charity
L-r: todd young, sonia young and leanne gerber

After spending the last few years living healthier lifestyles, Sonia and Todd see the walk as an opportunity to use their health to help those who really need it. Todd says: “I’m already on my feet 8-10 hours a day, this time it’s just for much longer with about 10-12 kilos on our backs. We’ll have Soldier On labels on our backpacks and QR codes on us to spark interest along the way.”

For the couple’s health and wellness coach Leanne Gerber, seeing their training take form in such a selfless manner makes her feel very proud. Leanne says: “I’ve had the privilege to be a part of the journey – Sonia inspires our healthy community anytime she shares her story. People are so moved and touched, and I admire her bravery and willingness to step out of her comfort zone.” To Sonia, Leanne directly said: “I could not be prouder of you two – I can’t even express it with words. Go you!”

By now, Sonia and Todd will have begun their walk after being seen off by Hawkesbury Mayor Sarah McMahon, with their first stops planned for Castle Hill and Terrey Hills. Although the pair are feeling a little nervous, they’re also really excited. Sonia says: “Well, we know how to walk! I’m going to do Facebook posts every day on the way, and my hope is that anyone who follows our journey will read something that inspires them, all for a good cause.”

Donate to Sonia and Todd’s cause here: https://fundraise.soldieron.org.au/fundraisers/ soniayoung/march-on-from-bligh-park-to-portmcquarie

Follow their journey on social media: https://www.facebook.com/sonia.young.904/

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