Level up: How this charity challenge got taken to the next level

Tom Do (right) and Youssef Saleh.

Keep family and friends informed by sharing this article.

At the height of COVID-19 isolation, social media challenges occupied our screens. So when university student Tom Do was challenged to do 25 push-ups for 25 days, he decided it was time to level up—both in terms of the challenge itself and the impact he could make.

“I thought to myself, how could I bump it up a bit? If I really wanted to raise awareness or generate money, I was going to have to do something more extreme than 25 push-ups.”

A new plan formed: walk 25 kilometres for 25 days for a total of 625 kilometres. Tom also recruited a friend, Youssef Saleh. Tom and Youssef had met at Gilson College in Victoria. The two often walk together.

“Tom gave me a call to say: ‘I want to do a 25 kilometre challenge instead of a 25 push-up challenge.’ And I said ‘yes of course’,” says Youssef.

Tom saw this new challenge as an opportunity to make a difference. He asked family and friends to sponsor him in support of ADRA Australia and Redkite, two organisations close to his heart.

During isolation, Tom volunteered at ADRA community food programs for vulnerable people in Melbourne. He also used his talents as a photographer and videographer to capture stories of change within local ADRA projects.

“I really love ADRA’s work, especially with disaster relief and with the homeless feeds I’ve gone to. So I thought it would be great to generate some money for that.”

He chose Redkite for their support of people with cancer.

“My friend’s mum passed away from cancer a week before the walk, so I wanted to raise some money for something cancer-related for him and his family.”

Walking 25 kilometres for 25 days was no easy feat.

“It’s hard finding five hours a day to fit in your timetable,” says Youssef. “The first few weeks you get sore, but your body adapts.”

“We did have a day where it was just bucketing down rain from the moment we started to the moment we got back,” says Tom.

Although their 25 days finished on June 18, Tom wants to keep going.

“I’m going to aim for 1000 kilometres,” he says.

If you would like to support Tom, you can make a donation via his website tomdophotography.com. You can also make a direct donation to ADRA Australia at adra.org.au/donate.

Ashley Stanton is Media and Communications coordinator for ADRA Australia.

Related Stories