2020 ANZAC KOKODA Trek for Medical Research



The Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation (RHHRF) has joined forces with highly-experienced adventure fundraising agency, Inspired Adventures, to launch its inaugural ANZAC Kokoda Trek for Medical Research, booked to begin on 17 April 2020 and rolling out across that significant period until 27 April 2020.

Already set to become one of the biggest and most challenging fundraising events the Foundation has hosted yet, participants will work towards a shared goal of raising much-needed funds for more vital local medical research to overall benefit the Tasmanian community.  The overall aim is to raise at least $75,000 – the equivalent of five project grants to be undertaken by clinicians exploring conditions that are most prevalent in Tasmania.

After issuing an early call-out for keen hikers amongst the Foundation’s closest supporters in recent months, the 2020 group is steadily building, with RHHRF CEO Heather Francis already signed up and in training for the Trek next April.  Already she knows she will be joined by several Board members and other close friends who are passionate about the work of the RHH Research Foundation.

“Out of respect we have waited until after Anzac Day to officially launch this event, however when I first revealed this opportunity amongst some of our most loyal supporters the enthusiasm and eagerness to be involved was incredible.

“The funds raised as part of this challenge will be significant for the Foundation, making a significant and ongoing difference to the health and wellbeing of our Tasmanian Community.

“The Kokoda ANZAC Trek is a challenge that I personally have signed up for and I urge others to consider this as a personal goal to tick off the bucket-list too.  Not only will this adventure be an amazingly memorable opportunity to contribute to our Tasmanian community, but a chance for participants to achieve a once in a lifetime goal on a poignant day in our nation’s history.

“We are not projecting this trek as an easy challenge and we trust the team at Inspired Adventures in supporting our participants in achieving their goals and ultimately being involved in a significant and successful fundraising event,” Ms Francis said.

Regarded as one of the world’s greatest treks, the Kokoda Track links the south and north coast of Papua New Guinea across 96 kilometres of rocky mountain terrain, tropical rainforest and remote villages. Participants will challenge themselves as they trek for nine days, following the Track through mountain streams, up rugged jungle trails and into remote villages, retracing the steps of the Australian soldiers during World War Two. 

Since establishment in 1997, the Foundation has invested over $8m in funding for research into diseases and disorders which impact people across Tasmania. The Kokoda Anzac Trek has the potential to not only continue to increase funding, but to build crucial awareness around the work of the Foundation, enabling the RHHRF to do even more to support future generations.

Each grant funded by the RHHRF has generated better approaches to healthcare and delivered benefit to wellbeing to people from right across our community.  These studies help keep our local clinicians at the top of their field of practice, while uncovering new ways of medical practice that can be lifesaving – not only in Tasmania but at every corner of the world.

While there are so many examples to demonstrate this, perhaps the best one shows the benefit of investing in a local clinical researcher, Professor Peter Dargaville, who will also be accompanying the participants on this challenge. 

Local Clinical Researcher Professor Peter Dargaville received a RHHRF project grant in 2011 which sparked a world-wide clinical trial supporting premature babies.  Fast forward to 2019, Peter is thrilled to be able to see how far twin boys Lachlan and Xavier Pead have come.  The twins were born at only 25 weeks gestation at the Royal Hobart Hospital in 2014 and are now involved in the ‘Optimist Trial’, a global initiative based in Hobart.

“When babies born prematurely need help with breathing, traditionally a tube is placed down their tiny little windpipe and into the lungs.

"Connecting a baby up to a ventilator via a breathing tube can save their life on the one hand, but causes quite a lot of lung damage on the other," Professor Dargaville said.

Peter was determined to find a better way to help those tiny babies born more than 3 months early and so in 2011, Peter applied for and received a grant from RHH Research Foundation to test an idea which involves using a thin catheter instead of a breathing tube to give a medication called surfactant into the underdeveloped lungs.

Peter and his team have successfully pioneered what’s come to be known as ‘The Hobart Method’ of surfactant medication which is currently being trialled in hospitals across the globe.  After its early genesis at the Royal Hobart Hospital only eight years ago, the work has now morphed into a Federally-funded international clinical trial running in over 30 centres in 11 countries. Over 400 infants have so far been included, making it the largest study ever conducted in this field of research. If the findings are positive, this new approach will likely become the standard form of surfactant delivery for premature babies in the near future.

Those people interested in experiencing the 2020 Anzac Kokoda Trek for Medical Research are encouraged to go to www.rhhresearchfoundation.org and follow the links to register.

Space is limited, so early registrations are encouraged to avoid disappointment. Register by 24th May and get $280 off your registration fee!




Special thanks to our major sponsor
Johns Group Tasmania