IN 2014, Horsham’s Tom Dunn set himself a challenge to kayak down the Murray River to raise money for the Aurora Early Intervention Centre.
The journey was mentally and physically exhausting, but it hasn’t deterred Mr Dunn, 20, from wanting to test himself again.
Mr Dunn is now preparing to stand-up paddleboard along the Condamine, Balonne, Culgoa, Darling and Murray rivers – a journey that will span 3600km and four states.
His goal is to raise $60,000 for Deaf Children Australia.
“After my kayaking trip, I developed a passion for helping people,” he said.
“As I was handing over the money I had raised to the Aurora Early Intervention Centre, I knew that I was helping someone’s life.
“So I decided to do it all over again.”
Mr Dunn’s passion for helping deaf children stems from his own family’s experiences.
His sister Cate was born profoundly deaf and he watched her struggle through her early years.
Mr Dunn said this year he wanted to raise money to help deaf children throughout the country, not just in Victoria.
“Deaf Children Australia really helped our family over the years, so it will be nice to give back,” he said.
Mr Dunn wanted to do stand-up paddleboarding because it was something he had never done before.
“I wanted to promote the idea that anything is possible,” he said.
He will start his journey in February.
“It will take roughly three months – I’m not sure exactly yet as I don’t know how fast I can go on a paddle board,” he said.
“Hopefully by February the rivers will be fuller – it will be hot though, but I had to decide between the hot weather or water to paddle on.”
Mr Dunn said he felt more prepared this time round.
“Mentally, I am definitely more prepared for being on the water, by myself, for eight hours a day,” he said.
“I learnt a few tricks last time to keep myself occupied and I’ve started working on my playlist already.
“Physically, I’m probably less prepared, but Fuzion Fitness in Horsham have jumped on board and they will give me some support.”
Mr Dunn has already raised $5000.
“It has the potential to be a really successful fundraiser,” he said.
“We are looking for corporate sponsors too.
“The $5000 was a donation from the Geelong Rotary Club.
“We are asking people to just give what they can and hopefully the $60,000 will raise itself.”
Mr Dunn said people could go to sup4dca.wix.com/donate for more information.