He didn’t make his tally of $40,000 for cancer research but he walked the 400,000 steps from the nation’s capital to his home in Blaxland finishing on Father’s Day.
David Archer, a serving NSW police officer, set off from Canberra on August 22 and arrived back in Blaxland on Sunday to a cheering crowd of more than 100 well-wishers.
The 400,000 steps walk arose out of tragedy. His wife Danielle died from a rare and very aggressive head cancer in 2011, passing away “after a brave 20-month battle against the disease”. Mr Archer made an ongoing commitment to raise money for cutting-edge research projects at The Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) and also to “do something big” for them.
“Danielle inspired me, my children (Joshua, 12, Grace, 10 and Caleb, 7) and many others and it was the least thing I could do.”
Mr Archer’s walk from Parliament House was 11 days long — approximately 320km or 400,000 steps. ACT Senator Kate Lundy had farewelled him in Canberra, calling him “a true inspiration” for embarking on a “remarkable journey”.
“Most people in Australia will be affected by cancer at some stage in their lives, either personally or through family and friends,” Ms Lundy said.
“This year alone more than 108,300 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia and as our population ages, cancer is becoming an ever more prevalent problem . . . survival rates have increased by more than 30 per cent in the past two decades due to treatment improvements and . . . research.”
B doubles hurtled past him along the Hume and Federal Highways, a dodgy old basketball ankle injury bothered him but he continued, raising about $19,000 along the way. “At times I felt every bit of my 44 years but I’m so pleased I’ve done it,” he told the Gazette. His kids were also delighted to have Dad back safe and sound in time for Father’s Day, joining him and a police escort from Penrith as he crossed the finish line into Blaxland shops.
Daughter Grace said she had “really missed Dad’s bad jokes”.
Mr Archer said the final two days had been particularly difficult physically and emotionally but he had been “very grateful to Sydney RV Group at Penrith who donated a motor home for the event” giving him a safe place to sleep.
“It has been emotionally charged, especially the last few days [but] every dollar of every donation I receive will go to research . . . it’s great to be back, it’s the best Father’s Day ever.”
To make a donation visit www.400thousandstepswalk.com.