Cap’s Lap: The Halfway Mark 

Captain Australia approaches the Nullarbor region

Amidst the backdrop of his epic BIG LAP, we had the privilege of chatting with Captain Australia, halfway through his monumental journey - circumnavigating the country, 15,000kms on foot. We talk courage, compassion, and determination – all things that define his quest for The Kids’ Cancer Project.

Tell us where this all began.

I left home when I was 15 years old. My mother was a heroin addict, it was a situation that was dark, and I went from a bad situation to a good one. I walked 27 days from Brisbane to Sydney to live with my grandmother. It was this massive trek.  

Fast forward to recently, I was diagnosed with cancer – Stage 4, given six months to live. My youngest son was three and it broke me. I beat the disease by just some incredible stroke of luck. But I wasn’t supposed to, and it left its mark on me. Both the side effects from the treatments and all of that sort of stuff, but just the existential, the psychological, the emotional, spiritual harm –that as well. And I just couldn’t come back. 

So, I realised after about three years of that that I was really just waiting to die, and it meant that I was – conversely, I wasn’t living. And I was under-performing as a parent therefore and so that was enough to galvanise me. 

And I had this inspiration, just one day I went to pick the boys up from school, that if I did the walks that I’d done as a child, that muscle memory of the original walk, I can heal myself. And it was just that simple. And then I thought, “Well you know what, if I’m going to redo that big walk that I did as a kid, I’m a man now, surely, I can do longer. So we’ll go from Brisbane, we’ll go down to Melbourne.  

How did Captain Australia come about?  

I’d made Captain Australia, the character around 2002 and I used to just go out, it was like a corporate boredom thing – shits and giggles, I don’t know what it was for. I did acts of kindness. Like a kid got his bike stolen, I bought him a new bike. That sort of thing. He donated many, many years later by the way.  

Why The Kids’ Cancer Project?  

So, at this point I decided: “OK I’m going to revive Captain Australia. I’m going to do a Big Walk. And then I need to – let’s support a charity.” You know, because I could just swing a pack over my back and go, or I could dress up as a superhero, march through the middle of the COVID sort of stuff that was going on and find a charity that could benefit from that. The charity became the paramount centre of it. Because I met so many affected families. 

What is The Big Lap?  

So ‘The Big Walk’ was in COVID times, it was completed, and it took 84 days, and it was Brisbane to Melbourne. But then after that I just – I felt that there was an ethical obligation to do more really. I had to figure out what to do with the extra time that I have after cancer. And the first thing is, be with your family you old fool. And that’s the greatest sacrifice and pain that I’m carrying.  

But it’s just a shadow of what the parents affected by paediatric cancer have to carry. It’s like a miniature version of learning that your child is diagnosed with cancer, and you may not see them again. So, this time, I’m walking from Brisbane to Brisbane, circumnavigating the country. 15,000kms on foot. 

Photos of Captain Australia's BIG LAPPhotos taken across Captain Australia's BIG LAP

Why do you do it? 

Patience is – like hope and inspiration are - like love. If these were the currencies that we lived by, instead of things like money, our impulse is to hoard it not share it. We have to beg for it to help fight children’s cancer and stuff. We withhold it and we get stingy with it. But if I’m full of hope my first impulse is to give it away. I’ve got enough, and it’s like infinite and it’s growing. Here, you have some of mine [patience]. And you see it, and you take it and you share it. And if that were the currency that mattered in our lives, I can’t help but think it would be a more beautiful world.  

What does your family think of what you are doing?  

Ah yes, well that’s a mixed bag because we all pay a price. If you’re purposeful, you pay your price but there’s a reward to it. For my boys, they’re proud but also sad. They miss their dad and that’s the price we pay. But they get a shift in perspective. They get an early dose of compassion and purposefulness.  

I FaceTime with them several times a day. And we know it’s for the short term. So, it’s really a micro dose of the pain that parents and families affected by the very spurge that your charity’s, supposed to try and resolve.

At the 30th anniversary celebration of The Kids' Cancer Project, they said some beautiful things, “We want cancer to be like polio. You get an inoculation. You know, let’s eradicate this horrible disease.” And for me it’s that micro dose of pain in the hopes that other families don’t have to feel that separation and that agony of being apart from the people that you love.  

So, the short answer is they are loving and supportive.  

Where are you now?  

I am about to cross the Nullarbor, get over to Perth then I turn north ‘til I run out of north – Darwin.  

The west coast will be the most perilous part of the walk. Not just because there can be 400kms with no amenities (so I have a trolley filled with water and whatnot), but there’s also elements of unpoliced criminality, especially up in the northwest. 

Aside from that the perils are snakes and all the things you’d expect really. In this next phase heat stroke and dehydration are probably more significant than snakes. But yes, I’m alert and I’m carrying all the water that I need. I’m dressed like a superhero which means I’m pretty covered for sunburn! 

How can people help?

I always say, “If you can’t donate, at least please advocate.” You know what I mean? So– if you know someone who works for a newspaper – whatever it is, help us get the word out. 

My heart is set on making a million bucks. 

I’m going to continue just doing my best. Every town I go to, I mention the charity. I try to get people to put little posters up in Fish and Chip shop windows with the QR code on them. All that sort of stuff I’ll continue doing, hoping it will click onto the national news cycle.  

As Captain Australia continues his journey, show him your support by donating to his fundraiser 

Donate to Captain Australia's BIG LAP

Follow his journey on his Facebook page here: