CQ man’s incredible gesture for teacher with brain cancer
WOORABINDA'S Alwyn Doolan was devastated when he heard his former teacher Peter Bartlett had brain cancer.
Peter, a highly regarded staff member at St Brendan's College, was last August diagnosed with glioblastoma multiformi, a terminal brain tumour.
He underwent surgery in Brisbane to remove as much of the tumour as possible and has since been on a rigorous treatment regime of radium and chemotherapy.
Alwyn, a Goreng Goreng and Wakka Wakka man, was a boarder at St Brendan's for five years and said Peter had a positive influence on him.
"He was an important Indigenous role model for me at that time and he left an incredible imprint on my life," he said.
"I was deeply saddened when I found out about his diagnosis.
"It broke my heart and I just wondered what I could do to support him and his family."
Alwyn decided to let his feet do the talking and walk 150km from Duaringa to Yeppoon to raise money for the Bartletts.
He set a target of $5000 as he started the walk last Sunday.
By the time he took the final steps through the college gates on Friday afternoon, he had raised almost double that, and the tally currently sits at $11,053.
Alwyn carried with him a message stick, the same one that he carried on his epic 8500km walk last year to raise awareness of Indigenous issues and promote reconciliation.
He said the fundraising walk was an emotional one, particularly when he was joined by Peter on the final 15km leg.
They were accompanied by college principal Robert Corboy and members of the student leadership group.
They were greeted at the college by rapturous applause and a guard of honour.
"It was incredible doing that last bit of the walk with Mr Bartlett," Alwyn said.
"The welcome at the college was really powerful; it brought back a lot of memories of the brotherhood that is instilled at St Brendan's.
"Peter was just so grateful, so proud and so heartened that I would do something like this.
"I want him to know that the journey does not end here. Even though my walk is finished, I want it to be a reminder in the coming weeks and months that he is loved and supported and that we're here for him."