Love is in the air…

heartsWith the shops littered with red hearts, chocolate roses and cards with soppy messages, you would think this is the most romantic time of the year. For the most part, I firmly believe Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday and believe that showing love and appreciation for the people in your life should happen every day. This week, I got yet another reminder that this isn’t the case for so many Australians.

You see, I know that this week two Australian women were killed by an intimate partner. And next week there will be two more. I know that on Sunday, 1000 women will be physically (and probably emotionally) abused by a loved one, most likely their partner.

So while I’m making my pink, strawberry flavoured, heart-shaped cupcakes for my girlfriends and plan my Sunday picnic lunch menu for my partner and I, I’m thinking how damn lucky I am.

Having survived an abusive relationship, I know only too well how it profoundly impacts your life, relationships and overall happiness. It happened six years ago and I still catch myself in protection patterns developed in a four year emotionally abusive (and in the end physically abusive) relationship.

This week I decided I was going to do a little more to contribute to the woman and children who are affected (and those who will be affected) by domestic and family violence. I decided that I will take a stand and join the Larapinta-Uluru Trek for Family Peace. One of the freedoms I enjoy being an Australian is a right of freedom of speech and I plan on executing the right to the fullest of my potential this year.

The trek is six days in the Northern Territory trekking one of the more challenging tails and sleeping under the stars. (I am told I won’t be allowed to abseil; disappointing but the scenery will make up for having to walk down rather than jump down the cliffs). It will be one of the hardest trails I’ve done and definitely the longest trek I’ve done to date. I can’t wait!

I need to raise a minimum of $5 500 for my trek. This will cover donations to Australia’s CEO Challenge and the trip expenses—the more I raise, the more goes to CEO Challenge. The beauty with having a raise the money is all of the conversations I will be having over the coming months, about domestic violence and empowering my colleagues, friends and family to take action and a stand for a world free from domestic and family violence.

A small donation to my trek will go towards helping Australia’s CEO Challenge continue and build their core business: creating partnerships between businesses and violence prevention services to give stability to women and children fleeing violent homes; and educating CEOs and their people to recognise and respond to violence.
One of the coolest things so far, is my dad was the first person to donate to my trek! Another reminder for me with how lucky I am to have such a supportive and loving family who are ready to jump in and support my next crazy adventure.

To donate click here: http://www.everydayhero.com.au/lesleigh_kumskov.

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