Western Health Board Member Tricia Malowney was one of the first babies ever born at Footscray Hospital. As an infant she contracted polio and since then has required assistance to walk. This November Tricia has pledged to walk every day, with her calipers, in support of the WalkWest Virtual Landmarks Challenge.
The online event sees registrants log their kilometers while raising funds and awareness of the work that Western Health has done on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Located within one of the largest COVID hotspots in Australia, Western Health has cared for the most COVID-19 patients of any health service in the country, and has had the most treated in Intensive Care.
"There are similarities between the polio epidemic and what we are currently experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic," said Tricia.
"Unlike now, in the 1950's there wasn't anywhere near the amount of travel so it was easier to contain the spread of polio. But the fear was still very real. Businesses shut down and life stopped in many ways – but we were able to get through it and move on."
Polio has never slowed Tricia down, and she has worked tirelessly in a disability advocacy her whole life. From working with the United Nations on projects and speaking engagements, to running her own consultancy, Tricia thrives on keeping herself busy and working to make the community a better, and more inclusive place.
Whilst Tricia officially retired in 2000, she has never been busier. She found retired life too quiet and soon threw herself into supporting others. Tricia was officially recognised with an OAM in 2017 for her services to people with disabilities.
Tricia has been a board member with Western Health since 2018 and is throwing herself, and those around her, into a new challenge – supporting Western Health's 42km WalkWest Virtual Landmarks Challenge.
During 10-30 November, the WalkWest Virtual Landmarks Challenge sees registrants walk or run a virtual track between Flemington Race Course and the Werribee Zoo. The fun and interactive course features check points at well-known local landmarks along the way.
Always one to aim higher than required, Tricia has set herself the extraordinary target of walking the equivalent of two marathons (84km). The virtual route she has set herself is the equivalent of walking from her house in Ringwood to her birthplace at Footscray Hospital, and then taking the WalkWest route through to Werribee Zoo.
"I love taking part in WalkWest because it is an accessible event for everyone. I am passionate about making sure everyone receives the best healthcare and services available," said Tricia.
"Our healthcare heroes are the ones who have seen us through epidemics such as polio to the current COVID-19 pandemic. I'm planning to walk so that Western Health can continue to provide outstanding care, research and training for their staff – even if it means I have blisters on my hands from my calipers."
Join Tricia and register now for WalkWest Virtual Landmarks Challenge www.walkwest.com.au