At the height of COVID-19 isolation, social media challenges came to occupy many people’s attention. So when Tom Do, a university student in Melbourne, Australia, was challenged to do 25 push-ups for 25 days, he decided it was time to take it up a level — in the challenge itself and the impact he could make.
“I thought to myself, how could I bump it up a bit? If I really wanted to raise awareness or generate money, I was going to have to do something more extreme than 25 push-ups.”
A new plan formed: he would walk 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) each day for 25 days for a total of 625 kilometers (388 miles). Tom also recruited a friend, Youssef Saleh. Tom and Youssef had met at Gilson College in Victoria. The two often walked together.
“Tom gave me a call to say, ‘I want to do a 25-kilometer challenge instead of a 25 push-up challenge.’ And I said, ‘Yes, of course,’” Saleh said.
Do said he saw this new challenge as an opportunity to make a difference. He asked family and friends to sponsor him in support of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Australia and Redkite, two organizations close to his heart.
During isolation, Do volunteered at ADRA community food programs for vulnerable people in Melbourne. He also used his talents as a photographer and videographer to capture stories of change within local ADRA projects.
“I love ADRA’s work, especially with disaster relief and the homeless feeds I’ve gone to. So I thought it would be great to generate some money for that,” he said.
He chose Redkite for their support of people with cancer.
“My friend’s mum passed away from cancer a week before the walk, so I wanted to raise some money for something cancer-related for him and his family.”
Walking 25 kilometers for 25 days was no easy feat.
“It’s hard finding five hours a day to fit in your timetable,” Saleh said. “The first few weeks, you get sore, but your body adapts.”
“We did have a day where it was just bucketing down rain from the moment we started to the moment we got back,” Do said.
Although their 25 days finished on June 18, Do said he wants to keep going.
“I’m going to aim for a thousand kilometers,” he said.