Telethon champs face fear to reach for their peak

Phil Britten and Graham McDonnell
Phil Britten and Graham McDonnell

Telethon Adventurers Phil Britten and Graham McDonnell will embark on the 2013 Chamonix Challenge, from July 21 to 29, which includes climbing the 4061m mountain, paragliding, white-water rafting and canyoning.

As directors of the WA Institute of Martial Arts, Phil and Graham said they would use the skills they teach students every day, like determination, perseverance and focus. And for Graham, it’s also about facing your fears ” a fear of heights.

‘I have always said to my students that fear is fine as long as you don’t let it rule your life ” acknowledge it, then use it to help you reach your goals,’ he said.

But the biggest motivator for the friends has been the experience of fatherhood.

‘Having kids that are healthy is all that any parent could wish for, so my heart breaks to know what some families have to go through when their kids get sick,’ Graham said.

‘It’s a powerful motivator to do what you can to raise awareness and get funding to increase the research needed to put a stop to this deadly disease.’

‘When you have kids and you hear of the cruel things that can happen to them, your natural instinct is to protect them at all cost,’ said Phil, who last year released his book on surviving the 2002 Bali bombings.

‘No child should leave this earth before their parents and it’s our job to make sure this doesn’t happen.’

Having trekked the Kokoda Track for Telethon last year, they know the climb will be about believing they can accomplish their goal, working in a team and simply ‘putting one foot in front of the other’.

‘Also, the knowledge that we are enduring 10 days of hardship compared to the months or years some families of sick kids have to go through,’ Graham said.

‘I believe everyone who is able to make a difference in someone’s life should make a difference and it doesn’t matter what the cause is.’

Phil and Graham have raised more than $20,000 to date.