Cattlemen drive herd of hope

Cattlemen drive herd of hope


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Stockmen to stop Harbour Bridge for iconic charity event

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Megan McLoughlin, her son Sam McLoughlan, 2, Jim Willoughby and Tom Willoughby at Allendale North, SA. Photo by Carla Wiese-Smith.

Megan McLoughlin, her son Sam McLoughlan, 2, Jim Willoughby and Tom Willoughby at Allendale North, SA. Photo by Carla Wiese-Smith.

A LITTLE piece of the bush is set to make a big splash in Sydney in the name of hope.

The first ever cattle drive will make an iconic journey across the Sydney Harbour Bridge this year.

The Herd of Hope is being mustered by South Australian Megan McLoughlin, to “show the great work we’ve already done in Australia on organ donation” and raise money for regional organ transplant care and services. 

“We want to send a positive message about organ donation. Also, we want all the funds to go into regional and rural services – in a set up similar to breast care nurses for transplant recipients to provide counselling for donor families,” Megan said.

I had a kidney and pancreas transplant and two months later I met my husband and now we have two kids, Sam who is two and Ella May who is 10 months old - Megan McLoughlin

An organ recipient herself, Megan drew on her personal experience and family history to inspire the event.

“Six years ago, I was told to get my affairs in order because I had months to live - I wouldn’t see Christmas,” Megan said.

But drawing on reserves of hope, she hung in and got the transplant she needed. Now, she wants to encourage others to become donors and extend that hope to others in need. 

“I had a kidney and pancreas transplant and two months later I met my husband. Now we have two kids, Sam, who is two, and Ella May, who is 10 months old,” Megan said.

“If we can change just one person’s mind to donate we could have saved 10 peoples’ lives with transplants.”

With boss drover Jim Willoughby for a dad and grandfather in the Stockmen’s Hall of Fame, the cattle drive seems a logical choice. But that didn’t stop her father dismissing it when Megan called him with the idea – only for him to phone back 40 minutes later to say “let’s do it”.

Jim Willoughby, Megan McLouhglin's father, riding Megan to the isle on her wedding day in 2013.

Jim Willoughby, Megan McLouhglin's father, riding Megan to the isle on her wedding day in 2013.

“We’ve got no political agendas, it’s just a positive story about what Australians can achieve and what could be more Australian than taking a herd of cattle across the Harbour Bridge.”

Stockmen on horseback will drive a mixed herd of stud heifers across the bridge, which to this day is gazetted as the Bradfield Highway Travelling Stock Route. 

And they won’t be just any stockman, each one has been directly connected to a life-changing organ transplant.

“There is a sad statistic for 2015, where there were 74,000 deaths in total in Australia, which only resulted in 920 organ transplants. That’s less than one per cent,” Megan said.

The Land is committed to the cause of raising awareness for organ donation and increasing regional services. We will do what we can to promote the Herd of Hope, and we want you to get onboard too. 

You can raise money by sponsoring one (or some) of the cattle that will be walking across the bridge.

Proceeds will go towards establishing regional transplant care nurses and providing therapy for families and recipients post-transplant.

You can also register to join the walk and show your support for the cause.

To find out more see the Herd of Hope website.

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