Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.
The Southern Cross : December 2011
December 2011 Page 7 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross news | Nearly 4 out of 5 Australians would be happy with a donation to charity instead of a gift. Donate now to the Vinnies Christmas Appeal and help support over 500,000 people this season. Call 13 18 12 or visit vinnies.org.au How will you spend this Christmas? An Adelaide Catholic school teacher will ride his bike 7000km through Africa next year with a koala pedaling in tandem to raise money for children orphaned by HIV AIDS and left vulnerable to poverty and crime. Mercedes College junior school teacher Mark McNamara will start his epic bike ride from Kampala, Uganda, on January 15. More than 50 members of the Kampala Cycling Club will escort Mark and KTD ("Katie-Dee") the Koala for the start of their ride. The life-sized fiberglass koala, designed and constructed by Adelaide-based animators Anifex, is attached to the bike trailer carrying Mark's essentials for the 12-month trek across 10 countries. The duo is expected to arrive in Cape Town, South Africa, in December 2012. Mark and KTD the Koala plan to visit communities supported by African children's charity Keep the Dream 196. "KTD will bring happiness to many children, who have little joy in their life, and hopefully inspire them too," said Mark, 48. He said Keep the Dream 196 -- after which KTD the Koala is named -- was an inspirational group turning around the lives of thousands of disadvantaged children. It is a community-based charity founded by Adelaide-born Louise Batty, which uses mentoring programs to provide better care for over 2400 orphans and vulnerable children in 85 communities. Reedcomm Entertainment director Geoffrey Reed became involved in Mark's journey after a chance meeting at a presentation last year on social media networks. Mr Reed said the idea of creating a cute, Australian cycling companion for Mark evolved into KTD the Koala. "She will hopefully capture the imagination of international media and in turn help generate donations from across the world," he said. Later this month, Mark and KTD's epic charity ride will be spearheaded by the launch via You Tube of a two-minute video. Students from Mercedes College and South Africa's King's Court Christian School will join in the fun by running, walking or cycling the same distance as KTD and Mark via the online "Race Across Africa" challenge. Visit www.bikeafrica.net for more information. Rebecca DiGirolamo Adoption apology Catholic Health Australia's chief executive Martin Laverty has issued an apology for the role of Catholic hospitals and health services in the 50s, 60s and 70s in promoting and implementing the once widespread public policy of placing the children of some unmarried young mothers in the care of adoptive parents. Mr Laverty made the apology when he appeared before a Senate Inquiry into past adoption practices in September. "To those present today, and to those across Australia who carry broken hearts as a result of the role that some Catholic organisations played in this public policy practice of years past, I say sorry," Mr Laverty said. The full text of his address to the Senate can be found at www.cha. org.au Koala turning wheels of fortune DOUBLE IMPACT: The Blackfriars Priory School community has dug deep and generously raised $13,400 in support of the East Africa Crisis Appeal through Caritas. On October 5, 2011 the Federal Government announced that it would match monies raised by accredited NGOs, meaning the amount will be doubled to $26,800. The majority of funds were raised on St Dominic's feast day, where staff and students held stalls and activities in support of the appeal, along with a major raffle. Gabrielle Hackett, the school's Dean of Religion, said staff and students worked hard in preparation for the day. "They were very giving of their time and monies in support of the event. It was another example of the wonderful community spirit and the very obvious display of our commitment to social justice and demonstration of who we are as a caring, Catholic community," she said. Pictured left are Blackfriars Year 1 students Sam Ellis and Duc Si Pham at the feast day activities. EPIC BIKE RIDE: Mercedes College teacher Mark McNamara will leave Adelaide's leafy streets for the dusty roads of Africa later this month to raise funds for Adelaide-born Louise Batty's African-based children's charity. Photo: Christian Le Ray