The Kosi Challenge, formerly known as ‘Parliament 2 Peak’, began in 2013 with Rare Cancers Australia’s co-founders Richard and Kate Vines embarking on a walk from Parliament House, Canberra to Mount Kosciuszko. They were ‘Walking for the forgotten 44,000’ – aiming to raise awareness for the 44,000 Australians diagnosed with rare and less common cancers.
Leaving from Canberra on Rare Diseases Day (February 28), it took Richard and Kate 10 days to walk the 220kms to finally reach Australia’s highest summit. Parliament 2 Peak was indeed an amazing journey; an emotional and physically challenging adventure along the Monaro Highway and the scenic Alpine Way.
On March 10, Richard and Kate reached Thredbo National Park and were joined by supporters of the organisation. This small but highly passionate and motivated group became the first participants of the inaugural Mount Kosciuszko (Kosi) Challenge.
This year Mt Kosciuszko turned on its winter ‘charm’ with wind, fog and rain to challenge even our most hardy climbers! Buoyed by a group of 21 enthusiastic supporters, the climbers endured the harsh conditions undeterred. The theme of this year’s climb was ‘Telling our story walking’, with climbers from all walks of life sharing with each other how rare cancer had touched their lives. It was a wonderful example of the sense of camaraderie and comfort that comes from knowing you are not alone.
One foot in front of the other, the climbers set their sights squarely on the summit. It was a difficult climb, made tolerable by their shared goal. Some many hours later, with tender muscles and flushed cheeks, the climbers converged united at the summit. It was here that the theme of this year’s climb, ‘They say mountains can be moved’, rang true; the formidable group of 70, basking in the glory of their triumphant climb, had a newfound awareness that together, we can conquer and move mountains.
The mountain is the perfect metaphor for a person’s struggle with cancer: the road can seem never ending and difficult, but reaching the top is a moment of great personal achievement. It represents staying hopeful for the future and enjoying life’s special moments. This year’s climb, themed ‘Care for Rare’, saw 235 climbers unite to raise much-needed funds and awareness.
In 2017 our annual Kosi Challenge continued to grow in popularity, with 325 people taking on the challenge. A warm spirit of unity permeated the crisp mountain air, as individuals from around the state came together to climb for a common cause. Over $140,000 was raised this year from a raft of generous supporters.
This year a whopping 500 eager climbers ascended Mount Kosciuszko. It was a stunning sight to see the mountain dotted with so many Rare caps – patients, families, children, colleagues and more – all making the trek to raise much-needed awareness and funds. And raise funds they did – over $365,000 this year!
An extra leg was added to the Kosi Challenge this year, with an inaugural Parliament 2 Peak bike ride followed by the traditional climb to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko. The event saw over 450 participants raise over $300,000 to support patients with rare and less common cancer.
In March 2020, the country was just heading into the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the uncertain times, the face to face Kosi Challenge was cancelled and a free Virtual Kosi was introduced for all those who still wished to participate in some sort of physical challenge.
2021 was our biggest year yet, with more than 530 participants taking on the climb to Australia's highest peak and over $440,000 raised. Social distancing and unpredictable, bitterly cold weather added to the challenge of the day!
Only time will tell with what 2022 has in store for us! We have again set the challenge to reach 550 participants joining us on the mountain, and have added a new Virtual Kosi Challenge for those who can't join us in person.
Everyone at Rare Cancers Australia is looking forward to catching up with our avid supporters and new faces on the day. Help us reach our $500,000 goal and register today!
Join us on the mountain or become a virtual Kosi Challenger
Create your own challenge and walk or run in honour of the 25,000 Australians who lose their lives each year to rare cancer.