Mullum's John “Fitzy” Fitzgerald walking the Great Wall for diabetes

Published on 07 May 2019

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One of Mullumbimby’s favourite sons, and one of Council’s most highly regarded staff members, John Fitzgerald is preparing to take on the Great Wall of China to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

John, aka Fitzy or Zippy (a hangover from his days with the Mullumbimby Giants Rugby League team), is a popular face in the Brunswick Valley – born here, and a proud graduate of Mullumbimby Public School, Mullumbimby High School, and the Mullumbimby school of life.

At Council John is the person who keeps the cemeteries looking as beautiful as they do, and in his spare time he is not one to shirk a challenge with the trek along some of the least visited parts of the Great Wall of China his next challenge.

“A couple of years ago I walked the Strzelecki and Sturt’s Stoney deserts to raise money for JDRF, and when I found out about the walk on the Great Wall I thought it was another opportunity to give a bit back,” John said.

“Juvenile diabetes, or type 1 diabetes, is a terrible, lifelong autoimmune disease, that affects more than 120,000 people in Australia and requires multiple daily insulin injections and finger pricks which is really hard for adults, but it’s even more difficult for kids.

“It’s often compared to type 2 diabetes and there is no cure so I am playing a small part in raising awareness and money for research,” John said.

“One of my work colleagues has type 1, and another’s child has it – in fact everyone you talk to knows someone with type 1.

To take part in the Great Wall walk John has to pay his own expenses and raise a minimum of $3,500 which goes directly to JDRF.

“So far I have raised almost $7,000 which is fantastic and I need to thank everyone at the Mullumbimby Golf Club, the Mullumbimby Chamber of Commerce, the United Services Union and Council staff for their support,” John said.

“The Golf Club put on a day for me which raised $2,000 and the Chamber has given a generous donation while at Council staff have held cake sales and soup lunches which have put money in the kitty as well,” he said.

“John knows everyone in the Brunswick Valley and he is also a valued colleague and it’s great to see him spend his time off doing something for others,” Mark Arnold, General Manager, said.

“I have lived in Mullumbimby all my life and the support of family, friends and businesses is what makes this place the best place in the world – thanks to everyone,” John said.

The JDRF Hike for Health starts in Beijing on 27 May 2019.  For more information contact Annie Lewis, Media and Communications Coordinator, on 6626 7320 or go to https://jdrf-hike-for-health-2019.everydayhero.com/au/johns-jdrf-trek.

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