Heart and soles needed to fight abuse

HOW FAR? Jason Gent will take part in the 10-hour treadmill challenge on September 6 to support Bravehearts’ White Balloon Day for child sexual assault victims.
HOW FAR? Jason Gent will take part in the 10-hour treadmill challenge on September 6 to support Bravehearts’ White Balloon Day for child sexual assault victims. Rob Williams

HOW many kilometres can Ipswich run in 10 hours?

That's the challenge Jetts Booval has set to raise money for victims of child sexual assault, in support of Bravehearts' White Balloon Day.

More than 40 people are expected to put their heart and soles behind the cause when they hit the treadmills on September 6.

According to Bravehearts, one in five children will be sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday - or 59,000 children annually. In 85% of cases, the offender is known to the child and is a relative or friend.

Jetts Booval club manager Jason Gent said the aim was to see how many kilometres the community could cover in 10 hours for the worthy cause.

"We'll have two treadmills running over the 10-hour period and participants can run for half hour intervals," he said.

"You can walk, run, crawl, stumble - whatever you want to do. We just need you to be a part of it.

"Donations can be made on a per kilometre basis, so the more distance we cover, the larger the donations."

Participants don't need to be a member of Jetts to take part, but must wear white to raise awareness for White Balloon Day.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston said the day, now in its 17th year, was a symbol of hope for survivors of the crime during National Child Protection Week.

"White Balloon Day is about encouraging kids to come forward and break the silence, while we raise the necessary funds to ensure vital support networks and programs can continue," she said.

"Silence, secrecy and shame are the sex offender's best friends and the child's worst enemies."

Ms Johnston said unless victims came forward, many other children remained targets for sex offenders.

"We are relying on victims to tell us who the offenders are so we can protect today's children from the same fate," she said

The 10-hour treadmill challenge will be held at Jetts Booval on September 6 from 9am-7pm.

To sign-up or donate to the cause, visit the club, phone 3282 2860 or like it on Facebook.



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