Clergy abuse survivor Andrew McGowan started his journey of healing in 2016 with a walk from Kempsey to Sydney with his four-legged companion, Chelsea Dog.
Now Mr McGowan hopes there will be a finalisation to his journey on October 22 with the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse in Canberra.
Mr McGowan originally wanted to visit Canberra on his trip in 2016 but because of health issues he wasn’t able to.
“It will be good to finalise the journey in Canberra. I can’t walk the 500 kilometers from Kempsey this time, but Chelsea Dog and I will drive down and then walk from the Tent Embassy to Parliament House for the apology,” Mr McGowan said.
Mr McGowan rescued Chelsea Dog in November 2015 from a Central Coast home after her previous owner moved and couldn’t take her with him.
“She’s the most loyal dog I’ve ever met,” Mr McGowan said.
She has also helped in the healing process for Mr McGowan.
“Focusing on something other than myself has really helped me heal, she’s the best dog.”
Mr McGowan and Chelsea Dog will be re-visiting the friends they made on their walk in 2016 as they make their way to Canberra.
“We want to lift everyone up. I experienced amazing compassion from people on my walk a few years ago and seeing everyone again will be really good, I want to see as many people as we can.”
Although the walk wasn’t to fundraise, people donated money to the duo as they made their way through towns along the coast. The money, totaling around $1000, was donated to Survivors and Mates Support Network (SAMSN).
Mr McGowan and Chelsea Dog will head off for Canberra on Saturday, ahead of the National Apology on October 22.
They hope Chelsea Dog will even get a pat from the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, when they visit Parliament House in two weeks.
Keep up to date with Mr McGowan and Chelsea Dog’s journey through their Facebook page Never Walking Alone.
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