Horsham's Tom Dunn kayaks for sister Cate

WHILE some siblings fight and argue, one Horsham brother has nothing but admiration for his younger sister.

Cate Dunn, 14, was born profoundly deaf and her brother Tom, 18, watched her struggle through her early years.

He said if there was a jet plane 25 metres away from Cate, she would not be able to hear it.

Cate is a student at Horsham College and is one of the lead performers in Horsham's choir.

When she was younger Cate attended the Aurora School for deaf and blind children in Melbourne.

"The school got her up and running and helped her learn to cope in the public school system," Tom said.

"What they did for Cate was pretty fantastic, but not all families have the money to go to the school in Melbourne."

Tom will kayak the length of the Murray River, from Albury to South Australia, to raise money for the school.

"I first wanted to raise money for my family to help Cate, but then I thought it was selfish to raise money for just one family," he said.

"So I decided to raise money for a charity."

BROTHERY LOVE: Siblings Cate and Tom Dunn.

BROTHERY LOVE: Siblings Cate and Tom Dunn.

Tom hopes to give the Aurora school a donation, so it can help more rural families with deaf and blind children.

"Thanks to the assistance of Aurora, Cate is now in a position where she functions normally, has no noticeable speech defect, and in her eyes has no disability," he said.

"The school helped Cate to break away from the stereotypes that children with this disability are subjected to and has improved her quality of life."

Tom is a former Horsham College student who now studies at Deakin University in Geelong.

One of his university friends, Tom Johnson, 19, will join him on the adventure.

"We leave on November 3 from Albury," he said.

"It's a 2200-kilometre trip and we hope to do 50.5 kilometres a day.

"It should take 40 days."

"The school helped Cate to break away from the stereotypes that children with this disability are subjected to and has improved her quality of life."

Tom Dunn

Neither of the boys have any experience with kayaking.

"Prior to getting a kayak for this trip, I had never been in one before," he said.

"Tom had experience kayaking on year nine camp, but that's it.

"We've started training on the Barwon River in Geelong."

Tom said Mr Johnson signed up without much convincing.

"I originally approached some mates from Horsham with the idea but everyone told me I was mad," he said.

"After thinking about it for a while, I kicked a few things over and created a more realistic goal.

"I approached Tom and he said yes - I think he shares my blind enthusiasm."

Tom said he did not know how much money he would raise.

"We've just opened a bank account and I have deposited our first donation - $160 which the Laharum Football Club raised for the cause," he said.

"If we get $170, I'll be thrilled and anymore would be fantastic."

He said there would be donation tins in shops in the Wimmera.

Tom said he was inspired by former Hawthorn footballer Shane Crawford, who has raised money for breast cancer by running and cycling across Australia on two occasions.

He said there was a Facebook page about the cause - Kayaking the Murray for Aurora.

He said people could donate via bank deposit and all details were on the Facebook page.


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