St Kilda East woman – Jess Boyle – trekking to restore sight

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By Megan Reynolds

St Kilda East local Jess Boyle is one of 2,000 trekkers preparing for this year’s Wild Women On Top Melbourne Coastrek to raise vital funds for The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Now in its second year, Melbourne Coastrek is fast-becoming one of the state’s most popular adventure challenges, with 500 teams of four trekkers, including at least two women per team, walking 30 kilometres or 60 kilometres along the picturesque Mornington Peninsula.

The event, on November 18, aims to raise $1.2 million for The Foundation to continue its fight to end avoidable blindness.

Since it began in Sydney in 2010, Coastrek has inspired more than 15,000 trekkers and raised more than $13m for The Foundation to restore sight for thousands of people who are needlessly blind.

Jess, 27, is taking on the 60 km challenge with her team Hike Like A Girl.

“We love the outdoors and exploring the fire trails of our local haunts on days away from work,” Jess said.

“Plus, what’s better than being able to call what you love ‘training’? And eating chocolate for breakfast is always a treat.”

Jess will join star trekkers and ambassadors including former Victorian Premier and Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation John Brumby; Coastrek Patron, comedian and broadcaster Julie McCrossin; and Melbourne media personality Libbi Gore.

Founding Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation, Gabi Hollows, praised the trekkers for raising vital awareness and funds to end avoidable blindness, which affects 32.4 million people worldwide.

“Four out of five people who are blind don’t need to be, and everyone who takes on the Coastrek challenge is helping us to restore sight and change lives,” Ms Hollows said.

“The impact of restoring someone’s sight is enormous. For every $1 invested in eliminating avoidable blindness, at least $4 is returned to the local economy, as adults can return to work and children can receive an education and fulfil their potential.

“The partnership between The Fred Hollows Foundation and Wild Women on Top Melbourne Coastrek raises a tremendous amount of funds towards our work and we are grateful to all of the participants for their support.”

Founder and CEO of Wild Women on Top Coastrek, Di Westaway said the event was a way for women to come together for their own health and wellbeing whilst also changing the lives of others.

“Coastrek helps women feel awesome, about themselves and about helping others,” Ms Westaway said.

“It gives back confidence and makes them fit, strong and healthy.

“Studies show walking in nature reduces negative thoughts, anxiety, depression and blood pressure, improves immunity and memory, increases energy levels, burns calories and makes you happy!”

Melbourne Coastrek sold out within hours this year and will return on May 26, 2017.

To support Jess or to learn more about Melbourne Coastrek visit

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