A visit by world champion paralympian and IMP ambassador, Kurt Fearnley, along with US paralympian, Josh George, has inspired the Torres Strait community of Thursday Island.

This is an insight into the life changing effect Kurt’s visit had on the TI community as told by 2014 IMP graduate, and Kurt’s Kokoda Trek partner, Elsie Seriat.

Kurt’s visit to Thursday Island 20th – 23rd February 2015 would have been one of many inspiring events for my community.

It was an honour and privilege to not only have one champion but two, with United States Paralympian, Josh George, joining Kurt on his trip to TI.

On Kurt’s arrival we had planned a welcoming dinner which was attended by 30 guests including family, TI Deadly Running Crew and organisations that help sponsor our Deadly Fun Run.

The Deadly Fun Run was an incredible success. We witnessed outstanding attendance with more than 100 runners participating – some even dressing up in outfits. People of all ages took part, with the youngest runner just 9 years of age through to runners in their 60s.

We had a very full but fun program arranged for Kurt. In addition to Saturday’s Deadly Fun Run, we hosted a Welcome Dinner on the Friday night, a BBQ Saturday night with Zenable (Disability Organisation), trekking 12km to Prince of Wales Island Waterhole on Sunday, and a school talk and radio interview on Monday before Kurt and Josh’s departure.

Following Kurt and Josh’s visit, the TI Deadly Runners are even more committed to supporting the IMP vision.

We recognise the value and benefits from the collaborative effort organising Kurt and Josh’s visit, which has really encouraged the TI Deadly Runners to meet regularly and develop and support programs that engage more of the community to be active and healthy.

Following IMP’s motto RUNSWEATINSPIRE, the TI Deadly Runners’ motto is emerging as ACTIVEHEALTHYDEADLY.

Kurt and I spoke about our impending trek through Kokoda and it appears my training is on track.

This weekend provided a great opportunity for Kurt and I to get to know each other and I even taught him a few of our verbal language that Kurt used around the community!

Big Eso (Thank you very much) Yawo (Goodbye) Wis wei (How’s it going) just to name a few.  I am so grateful for his advice leading up to the Kokoda and having had the opportunity of meeting this champion before I start trekking.

Anything’s possible if you put your heart and mind to it. Like Kurt would always say and these words I will hold closely too my heart whilst trekking, “I am someone who will never stop. Someone who will never give up. Ever.”

I was fortunate enough to share this experience with Kurt, his family, Josh and the entire TI community.

Now more than ever, I can’t wait to trek Kokoda with this amazing Australian champion.

Click here for a full gallery of images captured over the weekend.