After 70 days and 3,500 kms, Belinda Teh is hoping the final leg of her walk across Australia for voluntary assisted dying will be the most memorable.
She will take the final steps of her journey at Parliament House on 6 August at 12.30pm – and she wants the public by her side.
“This will be a lunch break adventure you'll never forget,” Belinda says of the final trek to Parliament from Kings Park.
At Parliament House, Belinda will be welcomed by the Premier Mark McGowan and other MPs who will soon vote on WA’s Voluntary Assisted Dying bill.
“I’m looking for supporters to walk with me for the last kilometre,” Belinda said.
"I will have white roses for them to carry and to give to the Premier to demonstrate that Western Australians are serious about passing this law.”
The 27-year-old, who grew up in Perth’s southern suburbs, has carried a white rose every step of her journey in memory of her mum Mareia who died in agony from aggressive breast cancer in 2016.
As a patient in a specialist palliative care facility, Mareia twice asked her doctors for help to die but was refused because it was (and still is) not a legal option.
"This is a once-in-generation chance to change the law in WA so that what happened to my mum doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Belinda said.
She believes the public’s overwhelming support for the law − 86% according to the last opinion poll − is both a blessing and a curse.
“There’s a risk people have become complacent because they think passing this law is a ‘no brainer’,” Belinda said.
“But success is not guaranteed.
"There are real indications that MPs are not listening to the 86% of people who want this law or the evidence supporting the urgent need, heard by the 18-month parliamentary inquiry,” she warned. “People must make their voice heard if they want this choice not to suffer.”
Belinda said memories of her mother and words of encouragement from supporters had helped her stay focused over the past 70 days.
“Along my journey I have met so many people with similar stories. Their willingness to share their experiences has buoyed and inspired me to work even harder for this reform.
"Just when I start to feel a little isolated, I receive another visitor or message of support, and I know I’m not alone.”
Belinda’s last week of walking will take her through Harvey (30 July); Waroona (31 July); Mandurah (1 Aug); Rockingham (2 Aug); and Armadale (3 Aug) before reaching Fremantle on 4 August. She will then walk through southern Perth to arrive on the steps of Parliament House.
Supporters can register to meet Belinda along her route.
Follow her journey at BelindasBraveWalk.org.au
Natalie Cameron – WA Publicist 0411 740 570 firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Offner – GGA Communications Manager 0426 283 865 email@example.com