After successfully completing the Kokoda Trail in 2016, Mark Hughes’ friends and former Newcastle Knights teammates decided to take their quest to tackle brain cancer to new heights.
28 volunteers from the Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF), including 10 former Knights players, spent 9 days climbing to Everest Base Camp to fundraise for brain cancer research, with the goal of raising enough money to fund a brain cancer research specialist.
In October, the team finished their physical goal of completing the 120km expedition, however, their financial target was yet to be met.
It wasn’t until their MHF Race Day that Foundation co-founder Mark was able to make an exciting announcement.
A surprise to almost everyone in the team, Mark announced that they had hit their goal – with the help of the McDonald Jones Charitable Foundation, who chipped in an extra $25,000 to take the tally to $500,000.
“We are so grateful that McDonald Jones and affiliated businesses have been such huge supporters of the Foundation for the past few years,” Mark said when we caught up with him after the event.
McDonald Jones Charitable Foundation was thrilled to be able support the MHF in their trek, especially to help them achieve their well-deserved goal. The clear mateship, courage and strength of everyone involved was even more of a testament to the cause they were all fighting for.
Mark agreed that it was strong teamwork that helped the 28 trekkers make it through the effects of altitude sickness and the cold.
“Every member paid their own way and really put themselves out there to raise money through friends, family and businesses.”
It was even fellow climber and former team mate, Billy Peden, who came up with the idea.
“It was a Christmas afternoon two years ago that Billy suggested it. He rang Paul Harragon, The Chief, and suggested we take on an adventure as a way to fundraise.”
And by the sounds of it, Kokoda and Everest are only the start for this determined group.
When asked what’s next for the team, Mark reassured us it’s another adventure. The talk of the town is ticking Borneo off their list next, but we’ll have to wait until 2018 to find out their next journey.
Learn more about the MHF and donate by clicking here.