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Hunter mine worker tackles Simpson Desert to raise funds for Jenny’s Place

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Troy Cameron battled heat, freezing nights and a cyclone to trek 440km through the Simpson Desert to raise funds for a Hunter domestic violence shelter.

But, according to him, it was worth the discomfort.

The 31-year-old mining operator at Hunter Valley Operations (HVO) tackled the 20-day “hike” for Jenny’s Place.

Troy Cameron

The Singleton resident joined his mum Sharon Cameron, from East Maitland, auntie Donna George from Rutherford and six other Hunter women on the trek.

Mr Cameron relished the challenge and being out of his comfort zone.

He admitted the journey was “challenging but amazing”.

The group had to deal with two windstorms which reached more than 100km – one rated as a Category 1 cyclone.

On two days temperatures hit 33 degrees which Mr Cameron said felt hotter in the desert – the heat was coming through his boots.

The coldest night was minus 7 degrees.

And, in the end, they walked more than 1,100 sand dunes and didn’t shower for three weeks.

“It sounds a bit weird I wanted to be in a situation where I may struggle,” Mr Cameron said.

“My walk was only 20 days but many women coming to Jenny’s Place struggle for years or their entire lives because of domestic violence.

“The best part of the walk was the people I met; hearing their stories.”

The trek started in Dalhousie Springs and finished in Birdsville.

Troy Cameron

Mr Cameron was the youngest – the oldest trek member was 71.

However, he prepared for the event by doing some gym work and walking 10 to 15 kilometres every second weekend in Newcastle with other participants.

The group has now raised more than $115,000 with Mr Cameron personally accumulating almost $5,000 through Bunnings sausage sizzles, raffles and a hypnotist night.

HVO put on egg and bacon rolls for its staff, too, to facilitate more than $1,200 in HVO staff donations, taking Mr Cameron’s fundraising total to more than $6,400.

The trek was not his first either.

In 2018 he walked the Kokoda Track for Camp Quality.

He has also done two 1,000km bike rides from Ipswich in Queensland to Newcastle for the same charity.

“I love doing these types of fundraisers because you experience amazing places, meet fantastic people and give something back to people in need,” he said.

“It is so great to hear the life stories from people who have been helped by the charities I support.”

Jenny’s Place is a not-for-profit organisation that helps Hunter women and children fleeing domestic violence or facing homelessness.

It also works to prevent violence and to promote healthy relationships through community education and awareness raising.

It’s conducting three treks this year as well – the other two to Kakadu and Tasmania.

Funds raised will go towards the annual cost of $180,000 to run a refuge.

To support Mr Cameron’s fundraising for Jenny’s Place, visit www.mycause.com.au/p/278238/troy-cameron.

To find out more about, or to donate direct to, Jenny’s Place, go to www.jennysplace.org

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