Congratulations Blind Courage Team
On 12 June, 2011 the Blind Courage team arrived at the Kokoda Plateau, marking the end of their successful completion of the Kokoda Track. The team was blessed with exceptional weather and wonderful support crew. No major illness or injury was experienced.
A special congratulations go to the vision impaired members of the team, Jason and Steve, on the achievement of a life long dream.
The success of the trip was made possible with the assistance Kokoda Spirit and in particular our trek leader, Dion Taylor and the fantastic team of porters.
Some photographs and video of the trip are available at
Blind Courage Documentary
Editing has commenced on the production of the Kokoda: Blind Courage documentary. We are extremely excited to be able to share the journey of Jason, Steve and the Blind Courage team over the 10 day trek.
We anticipate that the documentary will be available for purchase toward the end of 2011.
Getting Jason and Steve safely over the Kokoda Track was a team effort and the same will be true of getting the documentary produced and made available to the public.
The team is seeking voluntary contributions to assist in the post production process for the documentary. In particular we are seeking the support of the following
- Producer/Director with current credits to support a Screen Australia grant
- Editors with Final Cut Pro or similar experience
- Supporters with marketing and PR skills to enable the promotion of the documentary
- Disk replication/printing services
If you are able to assist financially or spend time on the documentary please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kokoda: Blind Courage
In June 2011 a pair of visually impaired walkers will tackle the gruelling Kokoda Track. This 96km track is among the most difficult in the world and holds a special place in the history of Australia.
The blind walkers (Jason Bake and Steve Widders) will be accompanied on the track by their sighted guides and supporters.
The Kokoda Dream
For as long as he can remember, Jason Bake has dreamed of walking the Kokoda Track. He has an interest in the military history of Australia and one day he would like to walk in the footsteps of the diggers who have bravely fought and died for his freedom.
Jason has spent his life pursuing the things he loves. He has completed studies in agriculture and runs a successful Dairy business. He is married to Michele and together they are raising a young family of four children. Whilst the dream of walking the Kokoda Track has always been in the back of Jason's mind, there has always been other priorities with his family and his business interests.
About 15 years ago, Jason was diagnosed with a genetic eye condition that leads to incurable blindness. Over the ensuing years, Jason's sight has progressively diminished and it is now estimated that he has approximately 7% vision.
Unlike his sight, Jason's Kokoda Dream has not diminished. As time goes by, he knows the challenge of Kokoda will grow harder, but that will be no obstacle to one so determined. Now, more than ever, Jason wants to challenge himself to achieve his goal of walking the Kokoda Track.
Planting The Seed
It was a clear night in October 2009. Jason and his children were camping with his sister and her family. The stars shone and the night was still and cool. A fire was glowing and its smoke was keeping the mosquito's at bay.
After dinner, when the children were in bed, Jason sat with his brother-in-law, Craig sharing a drink and talking about the day just past and those that were still to come. It was at this time that Jason posed the idea to Craig that he would like him to accompany him to Kokoda.
Craig had travelled to many parts of the world and looked forward to visiting many more destinations. Kokoda was one of those trips on his to-do list, but it was not something he planned to achieve for many years to come.
Over the course of the next few months, Jason and Craig periodically discussed the Kokoda trip. Slowly they started making plans and decided that if they were to ever undertake this challenge, then this would be the time. They agreed, 2011 was to be the year they would tackle the Kokoda Track.
Since the diagnosis of his eye condition, Jason has received an incredible amount of support from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. They have provided him with equipment and training to help him maintain his independence and mobility. In order to give a little back, it was Jason's idea to undertake the Kokoda Challenge as a fundraiser for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. Craig agreed with this proposal. The necessary approvals were sought, and Jason and Craig were now preparing to undertake the Kokoda Trip as a fundraiser for the benefit of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.
In about July 2010, planning started in ernest. The team started research for the trip. There were many questions they needed answers in order to gain an appreciation of how difficult the trip might be for a blind person. What special equipment might they need? How long will they need? Will trekking companies be prepared to take on the challenge of a blind walker?
The Blind Courage Team
Whilst undertaking research, the team came across a newspaper article that spoke of a blind Australian walker who had tackled the Kokoda Track in early August. The team knew that the experience of this man would be invaluable in aiding their preparation. But who was he and how could they find him?
Through additional research, they found the man's name and some other details. They discovered that he worked in the same industry as Craig, and that he lived within a couple of hours drive. Jason and Craig now knew they must meet this man.
The man is Steve Widders, and through work colleagues, Craig was able to make contact with Steve. Craig and Jason advised Steve of their intentions, and he was keen to assist in any way he could. Within a few weeks of making contact the three guys got together to discuss the trip. The initial purpose was for Jason and Craig to learn as much as they could of the difficulties that Steve faced on the trip. Whilst this did happen and a lot of information was shared, Steve had other ideas.
Due to some health issues, Steve was never able to complete the entire length of the Kokoda Track in August. He had only done a section on the northern end of the track. If he was given the chance again, he would love to return to Kokoda and tackle the entire track.
Meeting with Jason and Craig was a wonderful experience for Steve. This was his chance to head back to Kokoda. And what a chance. Two blind people tackling the track together. It was Steve's idea to join Jason and Craig in their endeavor. Jason and Craig had no hesitation in welcoming Steve to their team.
Kokoda: Blind Courage was born.