Kokoda Trek in memory of Chappy

By Karen Chapman

On 6/9/2016 my baby brother, Ben Chapman (Chappy), a long serving RAAF member died by suicide. He was 38 years old. He battled with PTSD and depression. Ben had been on 2 deployments to the Middle East in 2009 and 2013/14.

I have always been proud of my brothers service and to acknowledge that Ben and I would spend ANZAC Day together as often as we could. I truly respect and admire his commitment to serve our country. It was important to him. He was a proud ADF member and and he will always be my hero. 

We had at times casually chatted about doing the Kokoda Track together, but nothing ever eventuated out of those 'one day' conversations. So now, I am committing to doing it for us, in honour of him. I am taking part in one of the ANZAC Day 2017 treks (19/4/2017 to 30/4/2017). This will be a physical, mental and emotional challenge for me, but hopefully will provide some reward in completing the trek and raising some funds for Soldier On to support other veterans such as Ben. 

I'm doing it to feel close to him and as a chance to heal and to pay my respects to those that have paid the ultimate price for us all. I'm am truly grateful to all that have served our country. I'm doing it to also help others who may suffer the same as he has by raising awareness of the help that is needed and available for our veterans and their families through Soldier On.

Our family has been devastated to say the least, by the impact that suicide has. I'm hoping that I can help contribute in some way to raise awareness, help end the stigma and to save other families from facing the overwhelming pain that we continue to face.

Ben wasn't just my brother, he was my mate. I miss him so much - there is a huge hole in my life that will always be his. I don't know what my new 'normal' without him is yet and the tears do not end. 

Ben leaves behind his daughter Charlotte who is 2 years old. I look at her and I see Ben, my heart breaks for her and is another reason why I want to help raise awareness so that children don't grow up without parents due to the mental health issues that impact our veterans.

When it gets tough on the Kokoda Track, which there is no doubt it will, Ben and Charlotte will drive me to keep going one step at a time. 

The current statistic of 8 suicides per day in Australia is simply too many. We need to help people. We need to end the stigma. We especially need to help our service people.

Endurance. Courage. Sacrifice. Mateship.

I am very grateful for the support and any donation that you are able to contribute. 

This is for you Benny. I will love you forever. 

RIP brother. Peace out!

Lest we forget. 

Karen xx

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Supporters

Hey Karen. Great work in remembering Ben and his dedication to serving AUSTRALIA. And supporting a cause that i am also passionate about.
$100.00
David Do 2017-06-29 11:00:26
 
$20.00
Julie Barry 2017-05-13 09:55:01
Karen you are an inspiration. I was amazed with your strength and and determination you showed on the track. Your family should be so proud of what you have done.
$40.00
Bruce Todd 2017-05-02 20:08:24
For Ben. Thank you Karen.
$80.00
Kay Milton 2017-05-02 15:49:06
This is Adrian doing it on behalf of his Mum and DaD
$20.00
David Truslove 2017-05-02 15:28:15
 
$30.00
Lenna Truslove 2017-05-02 15:25:44
Karen I love how you have soldiered on through your hard times. For all the Ben Luke 's. xxxx
$50.00
Wendy Crouch 2017-05-02 09:14:42
Had to get you to 9000! So proud of you Karen!
$40.00
Briony Boland 2017-05-02 07:20:37
Hi Karen you story and your determination to complete the Kokoda trail inspired me so much even when you where down and broke your poles you kept on moving.. well done Love you lots Luke
$300.00
Luke Wimble 2017-05-01 19:59:29
Bloody inspirational Karen! Sending my love strength you your families way, especially little Charlotte. xxx
$300.00
Ben Weekes 2017-05-01 18:45:49
In memory of Ben, in support of Soldier On and most especially recognition of your mission and achievement. Much respect to you.
$75.00
Elaine Slater 2017-04-29 11:38:33
Hi Karen, congratulations on your work to help others, truly inspiring. I never met your brother and heard of your mission through our friends Adrian and Leah, who challenged us to buy your brother a beer. We are proud to donate to your mission and again, congratulations for having the courage to do something to help so many other people, this is a trait i am sure you shared with your brother. Hopefully you are at the end of your Kokoda trek and for this, we donate a round for you and your brother. Cheers to you and Ben Peter and Sandra.
$20.00
Peter Markham 2017-04-29 05:51:37
Karen, your gorgeous family were such a big part of my early teenage years. You have all been on my mind a lot since Ben 's passing. What amazing thing to do.
$50.00
Catherine Hing 2017-04-28 20:23:45
Well Done Karen Ron Jo
$50.00
Ron Dawson 2017-04-28 19:03:29
 
$50.00
Candice wilton 2017-04-25 21:39:27
They are the real heroes
$10.00
Anonymous 2017-04-25 19:40:50
Well done Karen a great effort for such a great cause. Mark Garrity
$50.00
Mark Garrity 2017-04-25 19:19:26
A slab of beer seemed more appropriate. Hope you are holding together on such a big day, your trek is everything you want it to be, and you realise just how amazing you are for doing this xx
$50.00
Peta Crowder 2017-04-25 19:18:13
 
$50.00
Jacinta Curtis 2017-04-25 18:46:56
Well Done Karen! What an amazing way to pay tribute to your brother and all those affected by the trauma of war.
$50.00
Kate Russell 2017-04-25 18:19:31
 
$50.00
Anonymous 2017-04-25 15:59:37
Thinking of you as you embark on your trek in memory of Ben xx
$50.00
Camille Goldsmith 2017-04-25 15:55:03
Love ya Kaz x
$30.00
Sally Neilson 2017-04-25 15:41:26
Beer for Ben Lest we forget Bree Joe
$20.00
Breanna Takanen 2017-04-25 14:59:38
Beer for Ben. Lest we forget.
$10.00
Ebony Ford 2017-04-25 09:32:46
Thinking of you Karen, your ANZAC Day posts always made me smile. Best of luck on the track
$25.00
Amanda Caddick 2017-04-25 08:00:47
Love you Kaz!
$20.00
Emma Knights 2017-04-25 06:44:09
 
$100.00
Anonymous 2017-04-24 09:16:54
 
$50.00
Dee Channon 2017-04-20 19:53:36
Sending lots of love to you on this awesome adventure for Ben and yourself x
$20.00
Narelle Downes 2017-04-19 09:48:43
 
$20.00
Karen Ryan 2017-04-18 12:45:21
 
$10.00
Theresa Wilson 2017-04-17 18:36:38
Go Kaz!!! So proud of you!!! I 'm sure Ben will be with you every step of the way!! We love ya lots!!
$30.00
Julie Chapman 2017-04-17 14:20:29
You are amazing Kaz! Cheers to Ben
$18.30
Tanya Cone 2017-04-17 11:33:37
All the best on your Trek Karen you will be amazing! Such a great thing to do, your brother would be so proud of you
$20.00
Kristie Bradley 2017-04-16 08:38:57
What an amazing human you are and such a beautiful tribute to Ben. Xxx
$50.00
Linda Paech 2017-04-16 08:07:28
You are an inspiration Kaz. Good luck.
$20.00
Louisa Scott 2017-04-15 21:16:46
Chappy You are one of the most courageously beautiful people I know. I am proud to be your friend. Love ya guts Anne Jones
$30.00
Anne Jones 2017-04-15 18:13:10
Such an incredible thing to do for Ben your family
$25.00
Jo Matthews 2017-04-15 15:16:54
Dear Karen, never stop dreaming and believing in what you can achieve!!! Love Karen xx
$50.00
Karen West 2017-04-15 10:12:58
 
$10.00
Anonymous 2017-04-14 16:23:59
Good luck from your CCC colleagues
$5.00
DHS 2017-04-13 21:29:16
From your colleagues in Melbourne
$20.00
DHS 2017-04-13 10:47:58
You are amazing Karen! Will be thinking of you next week and sending you good thoughts. Michelle.
$25.00
Michelle Hayes 2017-04-13 10:38:54
Well done Karen!
$25.00
James Hickey 2017-04-13 09:39:36
All the very best with your quest, Karen. From Michelle and Bern
$9.50
Michelle Lees 2017-04-13 09:09:25
What a remarkable, strong and fearless woman you are Karen. Your drive and passion for the cause is unstoppable. I personally have dealt with some nasty demons. It is so important to have a support network of people for our returning soldiers. We can never really understand what they have gone through. Then to come back to the real world as nothing has ever happened. Love to you on this EPIC journey. I can already see you enjoying many alcoholic beverages on the beach. Xx
$25.00
Sarah Maas 2017-04-13 07:42:55
You are a champ too young Karen! Wishing you a safe trip and hoping you find some solace. Susan, Kim, Lauren and Jenna.
$100.00
Susan Jeanes 2017-04-12 21:07:51
Best of luck Karen from all your workmates at 1CA
$260.00
DHS 2017-04-12 18:06:45
Good Luck Karen from 'START '
$80.00
Ashleigh Wills 2017-04-12 15:29:51
raised from Dress Down at WPIT Working Group in CCC.
$40.00
Jason Kallus 2017-04-12 15:02:42
DHS WPIT Brisbane Adelaide Street casual dress day donations. Thank you to everyone who contributed. Good luck Karen From the team in Adelaide Street
$35.50
Anonymous 2017-04-12 14:57:25
Hi Karen, All the best these founds were raised by the Newcastle WPIT Hub team for our dress down day !! Love to you in your Climb for Ben xx
$100.00
Jodi Cassar 2017-04-12 14:43:04
Well done Karen!! My brother in the Defence Force and what you are doing is amazing! You can do it, you are amazing.
$25.00
Ann Willshire 2017-04-11 20:56:01
We are right behind you in spirit Kaz. Celebratory donuts when you get home. Ben will never be forgotten because of you Kaz. Love Leah, Adrian, Blythe and Sydney. xxx
$100.00
Leah Truslove 2017-04-11 11:57:15
Karen, I have not kwown you long, but your commitment and energy are inspiring. Your story brought a tear to my eye and your quest is worthy, inspirational and daunting all at once. Please pause and reflect as you pass up the track ... it is little known that the initial Kokoda defenders were militia now called CMF or Army Reserve and many brave farm boys who were not yet old enough for overseaes service held the line in defence of our country. Remember the good times with your brother rather than the struggles he was simply unable to overcome.
$250.00
Anonymous 2017-04-11 11:14:44
What an absolutely amazing challenge to undertake, you are definitely a champion and you have a whole tribe of people behind you wishing you all the best!
$50.00
Naomi Criddle 2017-04-11 09:11:11
 
$50.00
Jacquie Groom 2017-04-11 07:46:42
You are the Bees Knees!! We are with you all the way x
$250.00
Sue Morrison 2017-04-10 18:32:22
Good luck with Kokoda, Karen! I 'm sure you 'll be fine and get through it no worries. You 're truly inspiring xx PS sorry I 've been tardy with the donation
$30.00
Fiona Coughtrie 2017-04-10 16:27:29
Good Luck Kaz, amazing journey ahead, I am sure your brother will be beside you every step of the way ! Jas
$50.00
Jason Kallus 2017-04-10 16:22:21
Best of luck Kazzie. Xx
$50.00
The Twiggs 2017-04-10 13:52:25
What a wonderful thing you are doing.
$25.00
Tracey Quarmby 2017-04-10 13:48:27
We are all behind you Kaz xx
$20.00
Anonymous 2017-04-10 09:51:08
 
$10.00
Jessie Dorian 2017-04-08 07:44:45
Had to donate when I saw this to take you over the 6000 mark! Not long now, you will do an awesome job. Good luck Karen xx
$25.00
Jodie Watson 2017-04-07 06:48:48
Good luck Karen.
$50.00
Martin Walsh 2017-04-06 16:41:10
Much love and respect Karen. I 'll be thinking of you xx
$100.00
Kath Eldridge 2017-04-06 09:12:08
 
$50.00
Melissa Gibbs 2017-04-06 06:08:32
I 'm in awe of you Karen !! Can 't wait to hear all about the trek when you get back ... you won 't need it but good luck !! cheers, Kylie
$50.00
Kylie Gilbert 2017-04-05 13:28:35
You 've got this girl
$50.00
KOPT 2017-04-05 09:57:06
 
$50.00
Karen Smith 2017-04-05 09:54:10
You 'll smash this mate. I 'll be thinking of you all the way!
$20.00
Vikki McIntyre 2017-04-05 09:31:03
Go Kazzie
$50.00
Carey Murray 2017-03-29 13:19:35
Karen good luck on the track. You 're an amazingly strong person. For Ben and the hope of more awareness around PTSD depression and its impacts.
$100.00
Jonathan Regan 2017-03-28 15:00:07
 
$100.00
Carol Nolan 2017-03-26 14:24:01
Love you Kaz!
$100.00
Rory Leggett 2017-03-24 12:16:38
You 're strength inspires me Kaz xx
$50.00
Louise Preston 2017-03-19 13:20:53
Massive thanks and love xxx
$50.00
Debbie Tacey 2017-03-13 20:04:35
Karen you are amazing to be doing this. I have had a Grandfather, Father, Husband and Son in the Defence Force. I know what it s like to be left behind, I m lucky they all but one came home. The service Man and Woman who choose this life I say life because to them it s more than a job are, like you, amazing. I would like to take this opportunity to Thank You for you Service Karen, for raising funds and awareness to Soldier On. Lest We Forget Belinda
$100.00
Belinda Caddick 2017-03-11 22:13:13
 
$50.00
Anonymous 2017-03-10 10:25:17
Karen, this is an amazing tribute to Benny. You are one amazing woman! And the bestest sister he could have hoped for! Xoxox
$100.00
Kathie Spalding 2017-03-10 10:21:15
Karen, you 're a superwoman and I 'm so proud of you! You won 't be alone on the Kokoda 'cos we 'll all be thinking of you and Ben will be with you for every step. xxx
$30.00
Michelle Nabong 2017-02-27 10:35:34
love you Ben to the world
$600.00
Kylie Finnigan 2017-02-24 20:47:55
With lots of love xoxo JC
$30.00
Anonymous 2017-02-22 20:01:00
You 're truly inspiring Karen. Wishing you a safe and successful journey.
$25.00
Andrea Pollock 2017-02-19 11:24:43
I know how hard this is going to be for you but I know Ben will be with you every step. Lest we forget xx
$250.00
Breanna Cantone 2017-02-14 15:19:41
A Beer or two for Ben!
$20.00
Vicki Clothier 2017-02-14 12:21:07
What a great cause Karen. Love Pam and Kalervo xXx
$50.00
Pam Takanen 2017-02-08 12:49:32
Good work Karen perhaps bust out a few body attack moves along the way!!! Lols!!!
$50.00
Bradley Bick 2017-01-31 22:44:06
Thinking of you all often. Best of luck for Kokoda x
$20.00
Narelle Downes 2017-01-15 11:26:26
Karen, you are stronger than you know and you will rock this! Trust me, I know what I 'm talking about! I wish you all the very best and just remember keep your head down and take it one step at a time. BB xx
$100.00
Briony Boland 2017-01-12 17:27:36
Xx
$10.00
Anonymous 2017-01-12 16:24:19
Thank you for the purchase of BROKENWOOD wines in support of Soldier On
$40.00
Anonymous 2017-01-12 11:13:10
Thank you to DHS CIOG Brisbane Delivery Centre for their Rembrance Day morning tea contibutions.
$173.70
Anonymous 2016-11-17 13:39:16
DHS WPIT Canberra bake off donations. Thank you to everyone who contributed.
$118.00
Anonymous 2016-11-14 10:20:30
And here it is...
$33.10
David Barry 2016-11-11 16:30:42
DHS WPIT Brisbane Remembrance Day bake off. Thanks so much to everyone for their generous support.
$226.40
Anonymous 2016-11-11 15:54:30
More Bake off takings. Congrats on a great cause Kaz ! Your brother would be very proud. Lest we forget. jas
$10.00
Anonymous 2016-11-11 15:34:05
From the Newcastle Bake Off ! Good Luck Kaz !
$120.50
Jason Kallus 2016-11-11 12:47:25
A very important cause. Our veterans need more support when they come back, and you will do a lot to help and remember your brother.
$50.00
Anonymous 2016-11-11 09:35:08
All the best with the big trek, Karen! I 'm sure all your friends and family are very proud of what you 're doing for your brother and the Soldier On charity. Aaron
$75.00
Anonymous 2016-11-10 23:17:06
Dear Karen, I hope you smash your fundraising goal in honour of Benny. My thoughts are with you and yours now and will be with you when you complete the trek next year. You are an inspiration. Michelle
$500.00
Michelle Lees 2016-11-10 21:06:48
 
$20.00
Anonymous 2016-11-10 17:37:24
all the best Karen, take care
$20.00
Alanna Beer 2016-11-10 15:38:30
Condolences to you and your family Karen. All the best for this moving and inspirational effort!!
$25.00
Rohit Kathe 2016-11-09 14:08:41
Karen, I was touched by your story, my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family. I admire your strength and courage, you have my full support. Raff
$30.00
Raffaele Webb 2016-11-08 15:32:39
Go Karen!
$10.00
Louise So 2016-11-03 16:41:59
I hope this helps even if a little. With Love, Marina
$100.00
Marina Dzuba 2016-10-31 17:53:51
Great idea Karen. Good luck with the trek. We will be thinking of you. RIP Ben. Jean Frank
$50.00
Jean Corby 2016-10-25 08:50:51
Please accept my heartfelt sympathy on the passing of your brother. My thoughts and prayers are with you. When we lose someone we love, it seems that time stands still, may your memories give you strength through this period and help you on your trek.
$25.00
Lee-Anne Horvat 2016-10-24 15:54:45
Your bro would be so proud of you. Your such an amazing sis.Wishing you all the strength for this adventure xx
$20.00
Naomi Mellor 2016-10-21 10:34:31
Sorry to hear the sad news Karen...and what an awesome way to carry your brothers legacy on. Kia kaha be strong and dig deep! All the best
$50.00
Rubyn Wipiiti 2016-10-19 17:48:12
You have my respect, good luck on the trek. I suggest you start training in a sauna now!
$50.00
Anonymous 2016-10-19 16:44:37
Karen, your not alone xx
$25.00
Samantha Yoko 2016-10-19 16:32:00
Good luck Karen! Such a beautiful way to honour your brother.
$50.00
Alison Quoyle 2016-10-18 12:20:14
 
$50.00
Judith Roberts 2016-10-18 10:47:42
wonderful way to remember your brother Karen All the best on your journey
$100.00
Margaret & Charlie Milton 2016-10-16 19:27:35
Love from AP and UD
$100.00
Pam Clifford 2016-10-16 17:26:14
such a great cause. I wish you all the best in raising funds. You are an inspiration. xx
$50.00
Suzanne McKenzie 2016-10-16 13:29:58
Beautiful way to honour your brother. You 're an amazing woman!
$100.00
Kelvin Baggs 2016-10-16 06:40:33
No words will change the loss of a beautiful soul. Lest we forget. Bless you. RIP
$50.00
Linda 2016-10-16 01:33:41
 
$200.00
Anonymous 2016-10-15 22:44:38
 
$50.00
Anthony Palmer 2016-10-15 22:19:10
What a wonderful idea, Karen. All the best for your fundraising and for the trek. PTSD is a terrible, terrible thing and there 's definitely not enough support for the veterans who suffer with it. I 'm proud to be able to support you.
$500.00
Lyn Wilkinson 2016-10-15 22:03:12
Good luck Karen. Such an amazing thing to do to honour your brother.
$20.00
Alicia Whitford 2016-10-15 21:31:15
 
$10.00
Anonymous 2016-10-15 19:38:49
Thanks for having the courage to take on this challenge in your brothers name.
$50.00
Nicholas Feeney 2016-10-15 19:34:49
What 's awesome way to honour Ben. Great work Karen!
$30.00
Scott Hall 2016-10-15 18:10:12
Go Karen!! What an awesome way to honor Ben and put yourself outside the comfort zone, for what will no doubt be the toughest personal growth you 've experienced. Good luck Melissa Jarmyn
$20.00
Melissa Jarmyn 2016-10-15 18:09:52
Hi Karen, I 'm a friend of Lisa Taylor and was devastated for you and your family when Lisa shared the post from your bothers mate. I wish you all the best on your trek and think it 's a meaningful way to honour your brother. Take care Emma Fox
$30.00
Emma Fox 2016-10-15 18:07:01
Well done Kaz, a fitting way to honour Ben. xx
$50.00
Lisa Taylor 2016-10-15 17:31:16
 
$10.00
Anonymous 2016-10-15 17:29:12
Good luck! This will be an amazing experience.
$20.00
Tiina Daskalakis 2016-10-15 16:52:01
 
$30.00
Charles Lockyer 2016-10-15 16:34:44
Love you Karen!
$20.00
Kieran Ryan 2016-10-15 16:26:17
3
$20.00
Martine Lupton 2016-10-15 16:00:50
 
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