Why a busy CEO is getting off the grid to walk Australia’s red centre

Two years on from her mother’s passing, Ella Baché CEO Pippa Hallas is preparing to honour her by trekking the Larapinta trek for three days with Cherish. We asked Pippa to share why she decided to take up the challenge.

“Donating money is a fantastic and important way to support gynaecological cancer research, but by simply donating, you miss out on the emotional experience of connecting with others and, in this case, with our beautiful country,” Pippa explains. “It is really important for me to continue building my relationship with Cherish. This is part of upholding my Mum’s legacy and doing everything I can to help prevent other women and families suffering as we did.”

In March 2017, Pippa’s mother, Merrilyn, was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She had spoken previously with her GP about it, but her symptoms were dismissed. Shocked and isolated, Pippa’s family struggled through Merrilyn’s treatment regime. Sadly, eight months later, their beloved Mum passed away.

“The first few months after Mum’s death were extremely difficult,” Pippa says. “Emotions just come at you out from left field, but I was determined not to shut them out. During that first year, we found ways to celebrate each milestone without Mum, setting up new traditions that include her memory and, over time, I have created a new relationship with her, even though she is not physically here.”

“I know Mum would want me to contribute in some way towards changing the experience for others,” Pippa says. “She’d ask me why I need to go trekking in the outback to do that, but she’d be smiling when she did.”

“It’s also not out of character for me to pursue unique experiences. In my late twenties, I spent a lot of time overseas before realising that I hadn’t explored my own country. When I returned home, I spent eight weeks driving west from Sydney through the outback and loved it,” Pippa says. “I think walking through it gives you space to think and feel the healing power of nature.”

Pippa is thrilled her Dad accepted her invitation to join her on the trek. “How often do you get a chance to share such an experience with family? My Dad lives on the land and draws inspiration from it for his paintings, so it didn’t take a lot of convincing,” Pippa says. “Besides, he is 1,000 times supportive of anything he can do to help fund improvements in gynaecological cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

“I have found with my friends and my team that the deeper the personal connection they have to the impact of gynaecological cancer, the more motivated they are to help. It has been fantastic to see who has put up their hand up so far. Come and join me. I’m sure it will be amazing.”

You can register to join Pippa’s trek on the Cherish website.