Blooms of Yarrawonga welcomed their proprietor back when Emma Jones returned home to Yarrawonga after 2 weeks in China trekking the Great Wall to raise funds and awareness for the Melanoma Institute Australia.
In the past six years Emma has had three melanomas removed, a full groin dissection to take out the lymph nodes in her legs and is currently on a medical watch for the onset of Stage 4 Melanoma.
Just last Wednesday she had another melanoma removed but is having regular PET scans to monitor her health and is due for another scan in November as doctors must keep their eye on the illness.
On the health front Emma is doing well and is happy to be home in Yarrawonga after her two-week journey.
At the beginning of September along with nine others she spent five days trekking the Great Wall of China.
Through fundraising for the trek and businesses in the Yarrawonga area having collection boxes at their business for the past nine months the group raised $72,000.
In an even more remarkable sequence of events this was the first time Emma had trekked anywhere or raised money and awareness for anything but she said it was the best decision she has made.
“The trek was the hardest thing I have ever done but I probably didn’t train as much as I should have due to my health,” Emma said.
“It was very enjoyable and a life changing experience.”
Emma said the best part of the whole experience was the mark she has had on other people and getting them to think about their health.
“The best part is that we’ve raised awareness and people are now getting checks,” Emma said.
“We had a lady in here just before that said from coming to an event we have spoken at she has gone and had checks done.”
Two days before the trek began and another two days after the group were able to explore China visiting the Emperors tombs, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and Beijing city.
Emma said it was unusual not to start the morning on the way to a new part of the Great Wall but after wrapping up five days of hiking there was a different feeling among the group with the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
The fast pace was swapped for a more gradual and slower tempo with the streets filled with coffee shops and artwork reminding some of them of home.
The Yarrawonga community has been a great support and Emma said she would like to thank the many people that helped.
“We want to thank all of the Yarrawonga community for their support, the local community groups and businesses who made collection boxes and everyone who came to events and bought raffle tickets and donated money,” Emma said.
“I also want to say thank you to Courtney and Fiona and one of my girlfriends Kerry Babour for agreeing to come with me because I wouldn’t have been able to do it without their support and encouragement.”
“We met a girl who was stage 4, she had tumors in her brain and lungs and it just made us all realise life is short so make the most of everyday.”
A mantra spoken by the trek’s team leader Joel that Emma has taken on board reads:
“No matter what the circumstance, there is always a positive to life and at the end of the day enjoy everything you do have and not the things you don’t.”
To donate money to the trek group or to read more of the experience of a lifetime visit https://miagreatwallofchinatrek2017.gofundraise.com.au and follow the links to Emma’s site – EmmaJones10.