Alumnus Thomas Allwright's most ambitious, and personal, charity project

22 January 2018

Thomas wants to change people's lives through adventure, and a recent tragedy has inspired his most ambitious, and personal, charity project.

Deakin alumnus Thomas Allwright is a hard-worker and finishes what he starts, whether that be his studies or more recently expeditions. The former AFL footballer finished the Bachelor of Commerce in 2017 and he had studied in the Cloud while working. ‘Deakin provided support in ways that wasn’t expected’ says Thomas.

At the start of his studies, Thomas was playing AFL with the Geelong Cats, and then transitioned into the workforce when an injury prevented him from reaching his childhood dream of reaching 200 games. Requiring a knee reconstruction was a huge shock and disappointment, but sport had always been a huge part of Thomas’s life and soon he moved into personal training, and then into adventure tourism.

It was in adventure tourism that Thomas’s passions collided. Thomas had grown up in a small farming community in Tasmania, where the population was less than 500 people -this instilled an understanding of how far community engagement can go. His first experience of philanthropic adventure tourism was when he was asked to organise a climb up Kilimanjaro, so Water Well could build a well in Africa. This well now provides clean water for over 1,000 people. Deakin gave him the time and opportunity to use this philanthropic activity towards his degree.

Since then Thomas has organised adventure tours for multiple causes; his father’s recent prostate cancer diagnosis has forged a strong passion for men’s health. Thomas is a storyteller, and through his experiences he hopes to change mindsets, make people aware of events and show that we can make a change.

Thomas wants to change people’s lives through adventure, and a recent tragedy has inspired his most ambitious, and personal, charity project: a luxury trek up Mount Everest for Diabetes Australia.  This is the first trek of its kind and was the vision of Thomas’s close friend, Matthew Jones. Matthew and Thomas had previously hiked Kokoda together when they took on Everest. Matthew was a type one diabetic, and he was fascinated by research and technologies that would enable him, and others with diabetes, to live their best life. Before they went on this trip, they were already talking about the possibilities.

At the last stop before Everest Base Camp, about 4,900 meters above sea level, Matthew was finding it difficult to breathe and altitude medication sadly was not helping. With the help of Sherpas, they started their descent but he continued to worsen, and he passed away before the emergency helicopter arrived. Matthew had trained in a special altitude gym and checked with doctors before attempting the trek so he was as prepared as he could be.

Returning to Australia was difficult for Thomas, but this Mount Everest trek for Diabetes Australia has become part of his healing process by raising funds and awareness. With the full blessing of Matthew’s family and Diabetes Australia, Thomas aims to raise over $100,000 to find a cure, develop new treatments and create new technology to improve the daily lives of those living with diabetes. He has not returned to Everest yet but he is excited to go on this trek because it is such a special place.

Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic condition, with someone being diagnosed every five minutes. Thomas knows how severe diabetes can be and how it impacts everyday life but many people do not know this.

You can join Thomas on this special trek to raise funds and awareness for Diabetes Australia with the same local guide accompanying the group. We wish Thomas and all alumni joining this tour all the best.

For more information, visit Adventure Abroad - Trek for Matt.

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