Pain no barrier in helping Charlie

WELL DONE 'SOOTY': fter walking 200km in four days, Wangaratta’s Stewart ‘Sooty’ Kreltszheim (left) was happy to be accompanied on his final leg into Oxley by Cyril Ciavarella on Wednesday evening. Stewart was doing the walk to raise funds for Cyril’s 18 month old grandson, Charlie Ciavarella, who is battling a rare immune condition. PHOTO: Luke Plummer

DURING the last day of his marathon 200km, four day walk from Wangaratta to Oxley via Benalla, Mansfield and Whitfield, Stewart Kreltszheim had almost hit the wall.

The experienced trekker who had taken on marathon journeys in Australia and overseas for many years, including several walks along the Kokoda Track, was suffering with massive blisters on his heels, making every step a painful effort.

But a call from Tony Ciavarella, father of toddler Charlie who had recently undergone a bone marrow transplant in the Royal Children’s Hospital where he was still receiving treatment, reminded Stewart why he had set out on the daunting journey in the first place.

“I had a choice; I could go on or stop,” the CFA District 23 operations manager said.

“But Tony and Merryn (Charlie’s mother) have no choice.

“It was a major motivation for me to finish what I had started.”

With renewed determination Stewart continued and rallied further when Charlie’s grandfather Cyril joined him for the final 10km walk to Oxley and the long awaited finish line.

He received a warm welcome from the Oxley community and fellow CFA members who shared a barbecue and held another fundraiser to support the Ciavarella family further.

The walk, however, was all about helping the Ciavarella family and by late Thursday one man’s inspiration with the support of colleagues, friends and communities had raised in the vicinity of $10,000 for the cause.

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