Day 1, 4:00am Coffee. Avocado on sourdough. One more coffee. It’s still dark outside and …
Failure should never get in the way of adventure. This is something that rings true for Wild Women on Top founder, Di Westaway. I spoke with Di; discussing with her the inspirations for her business and the amazing feat of raising almost $20 million for the Fred Hollows Foundation over the past 9 years. Di was like many working mums approaching her 40’s, she wasn’t getting enough me time and wanted to feel like her healthier, fitter, younger self again. She called it her mid wife crisis.
After a little encouragement from her personal trainer, Di decided to climb the highest mountain in the southern hemisphere; Aconcagua in South America. Without any previous experience, Di and some of her girlfriends took on the challenge!
Blizzards and other challenges meant that they failed to reach the mountain summit, but instead realised that the success was actually in the journey. Shortly after returning home, the idea for Wild Women on Top was born! Wild Women on Top transforms lives by creating life changing adventures that get women walking in nature. Training for more than 20 wild adventures in remote destinations each year, Di and her fellow ‘Adventure Goddesses’ walk their way to fit!
While climbing the highest mountain in Europe, Mount Elbrus, Di met Sue Fear. Sue was an avid supporter of the Fred Hollows Foundation. While guiding Di and her ‘Adventure Goddesses’ up the mountain, Sue spoke of her connection to the Fred Hollows Foundation and of the work that Fred had done. Inspired by the stories Sue shared, Di decided that she also wanted to be involved.
Di started Coastek in 2010 as a way to help more women get fit and raise money for the Fred Hollows Foundation. Fred Hollows was a fellow mountaineer and adventurer. An Australian ophthalmologist, Fred often visited Nepal, Eritrea and Vietnam to provide eye care to underprivileged people with preventable blindness. The Fred Hollows Foundation continues Fred’s work to help restore eyesight to people all over the world.
I asked Di what she loves most about the Fred Hollows Foundation…
“Like us, they transform lives. Wild Women on Top transforms lives in some instances in small ways, in others – big ways. We have stories of women who lose 60kg and go off to do amazing adventures. Fred Hollows helps people who one day they’re blind, and the next day they can see. That’s a transformation like no other. When you restore sight to one person, the five immediate people in their family have their lives changed as well. In our work, when we transform the life of one mum by getting her off the couch, it drives change in their communities and families.”
So you must be thinking, how do I get started? Di suggests grabbing a buddy and going outside for a walk with nature! Just a few times a week will give you motivation and improve your wellbeing – more than you think. Make it a ritual, your body will thank you.
The beautiful landscapes and environments that Wild Women on Top train in, serves as inspiration everyday for Di and further drives her love for the work of the Fred Hollows Foundation. Everybody should be able to experience the beauty that the world has to offer. Coastrek is taking place again this July on the picturesque Sunshine Coast. Teams are encouraged to raise $2,000 with proceeds going to the Fred Hollows Foundation. For more information visit the Sunshine Coastrek website.
Don’t forget to show your support to other teams by donating here!
AUTHOR: Lauren Hoskin
Images courtesy of Wild Women on Top