NOT DONE YET: After overcoming an unexpected illness, Clermont man Brett Johnstone will continue his epic fundraising expedition to raise money and awareness for cancer.
NOT DONE YET: After overcoming an unexpected illness, Clermont man Brett Johnstone will continue his epic fundraising expedition to raise money and awareness for cancer.

Unexpected illness puts Brett’s epic adventure on hold

CLERMONT man Brett Johnstone was forced to put his epic charity expedition on hold when he was recovered from the Western Australian desert and hospitalised for 10 days.

Mr Johnstone was in the midst of his 10,000km ride across some of Australia’s toughest outback tracks to raise money for Queensland Cancer Council, when he thought he caught a tummy bug.

“Everything was spinning and by Monday morning, I couldn’t even stand up,” Mr Johnstone said.

Already 3000km into his journey, Mr Johsntone was extracted from a Western Australian indigenous community and diagnosed with Vestibular Neuritis, inflammation of the inner ear or nerves that connect the inner ear to the brain.

“I felt like I’d let a lot of people down because I didn’t have an obvious injury like a broken bone that people could see,” he said.

“Then frustration set in because so many people said ‘aw it was too tough’, but my fitness was actually getting better each day.”

Now on the road to recovery, Mr Johnstone wants to finish what he started, with sights set on heading back to the desert next year.

He said he was originally inspired and motivated to raise money for cancer after the deaths of his brother-in-law and sister-in-law from cancer, and he realised how many other people in Clermont had also been affected by the illness.

Despite the tough conditions across the region, Mr Johnstone raised more than $10,000 before his first attempt and wants to reach $15,000 before the 2020 trip.

“As bad as it sounds, cancer will never take a back seat to the drought, and I know people are doing it tough but this is something that affects all of us,” he said.

Mr Johnstone said he wanted to inspire others to give to the cause and to see the “great country we are in”.

“From the time I started to plan this, I was hoping to inspire people through what I’m doing,” he said.

“I’m no one, I’ve never done anything like this before, so if I can raise awareness and money then you can do it too.”

Mr Johnstone expects to take his Husqvarna 701 Enduro through south-western Queensland, across the Simpson Desert to Coober Pedy.

He’ll journey up the Connie Sue track to Warburton in WA, on to Wiluna via the Gunbarrel Hwy, and to Billiluna via the Canning Stock Route.

He’ll head down to Alice Springs, across the Plenty Highway to Jervois Station and down the Hay Rivertrack and through the Simpson Desert to Birdsville and Winton via backroads and station tracks.

From there he’ll ride on to Muttaburra, past Lake Galilee and home to Clermont.

“Certainly the real fun will start from Coober Pedy as it allows access to the Anne Beadel,” Mr Johnstone said.

“I wish to see the Great Victorian Desert again and stop right at the Totem Monument where the atomic test bombs were detonated.”

Donations can be made by going to the Facebook page ‘Challenging the Canning for Cancer’ and following the links, or at www.challengingthecanningforcancer.com.


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