Dash to the West all in a good cause for mates

By SHAN GOODWIN

CASINO'S Robert Thomson first hit the outback tracks when his youngest daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia.

He wanted to share with her the wonders of Australia.

Yesterday he headed west again, but this time with two mates in a four-wheel-drive in an attempt to give something back to the Lismore Base Hospital which played a part in helping his daughter be a survivor.

Robert, Peter Arthur from McKees Hill, and Stuart Auld from Brisbane, left Cape Byron destined for Steep Point in Western Australia.

Their plan is to take the most direct route from Australia's east to west and get there in 72 hours.

The trip is a bid to raise $20,000 to help the Our Kids organisation buy a humidicrib for the hospital, with the balance going to Kidney Health Australia.

Peter has travelled to many remote areas of Australia with his wife, Karen, on charity drives.

But this will be his toughest, with the team taking on the mighty Simpson Desert and the Gunbarrel Highway in Western Australia.

"We'll be tag-teaming with one driving, one navigating and one sleeping," Robert said yesterday.

Stuart lived in Lismore for 10 years before moving to Brisbane. His children were all born at the Base.

Robert is an earthmoving contractor, Stuart an IT consultant, and Peter runs a chicken hatchery.

For a trip like this, it is vital all the travellers get on well but the men say they are certain they'll still be talking to each other at the end.

"We all have the same goal," Robert said.

The challenge has already attracted a good deal of sponsorship, but anyone who would like to help should log on to www.4wdcoasttocoast. com.au or phone 66631442.

"All sponsorship goes directly to the causes as we've already got all our running costs through other fundraising efforts ? raffles and so forth," Robert said.



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