James McAlloon beginning his journey to WA this morning to raise funds for South American families.
James McAlloon beginning his journey to WA this morning to raise funds for South American families.

Massive journey begins to raise crucial funds

EACH step James McAlloon takes as he walks the full length of Australia will represent an international family struggling to feed their children.

The Chimu Adventures employee on Wednesday morning began his cross-country journey to raise crucial funds for South American residents as they combat COVID-19.

While the Coast-based tourism operator was forced to cease its South American tours, Mr McAlloon said residents were facing dire consequences as borders remain closed.

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“South American countries don’t have a lot of the support that we do, so whether it’s financial support from the government or the same level of medical support,” he said.

“A lot of the countries are third world countries, so they live day-to-day on very small amounts of money.

“And a lot of them, especially in places like Cusco, are wholly reliant on tourism.

“So now that tourism isn’t happening because everybody’s on lockdown, they’ve completely lost their ability to pay for food, electricity, to send their kids to school.

“They just don’t have any other option.”

Chimu employee James McAlloon has pledged to walk the full length of Australia to raise funds. Photo: Warren Lynam
Chimu employee James McAlloon has pledged to walk the full length of Australia to raise funds. Photo: Warren Lynam

With Brazil listed as the second most virus-affected country across the globe, Mr McAlloon said it was important for Chimu staff to do what they could to support its partners.

“Since Chimu works in that space, and works in tourism in Latin America, I think we’re a bit closer to the reality of what’s happening,” he said.

“I think they’ve had a harder time dealing with the pandemic itself, with having a lot more cases and they’re a lot more vulnerable economically as well.

“It’s probably the most direct way we can help … we know that everybody is suffering now, but this is where we can be most effective.”

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Mr McAlloon left the Sunshine Coast at 7.30am Wednesday and is currently heading towards Toowoomba.

While restrictions could halt his path to Bunbury in Western Australia, he said nothing would stop the fundraising mission.

“I don’t have a specific back up plan, but I’m definitely going to make adjustments as I need to,” he said.

“It won’t bring the journey to a stop, that’s for sure.”

James McAlloon taking his first steps on his journey.
James McAlloon taking his first steps on his journey.

Mr McAlloon said he would average about 40km each day, and hoped the tough hike would inspire the Coast community to dig deep.

“It makes it a bit more worthwhile when it’s personal, and having people actually reach out definitely makes you know what you’re raising money for,” he said.

“I think that’ll be quite powerful when things get tough and I’m having a bad day or something like that, just to get through it.

“It would be great if we can reach our goal of funding and if people can’t donate or help out financially, then just sharing the story would be really good.”

To donate to Mr McAlloon’s pledge, head here.