Laura Shawcross is running around the world in an attempt to raise money for refugees. Funds raised will be donated to OneCare. Read this interview with Laura Shawcross to learn more about her journey.

What was the catalyst to wanting to support refugees?

I guess what really got the ball rolling was actually having this amazing opportunity to travel the world for the year! It was something both Frase & I have always wanted to do & when the dream became a reality I was really conscious of the blessing the opportunity to travel is. I didn’t want to take it for granted! Knowing there are so many displaced people in the world who are simply seeking refuge somewhere safe, whilst I am able to freely travel almost where ever I like is completely mind blowing to me. Inequality is something that really breaks my heart, I thought if I have this opportunity that the majority of the world does not have, I at the very least have a responsibility to “do something” with it/about it. 


What is it about the refugee experience that resonates with you - into action?

There really are a number of things that really resonate with me about refugees and there experiences however overall my exposure to refugees in my profession as a Midwife has really opened my eyes to even just a snapshot of the difficulties faced by refugees when transitioning to life in their new homes. I have been privileged to hear the stories and experiences of some of the refugee women and their families having babies in Geelong. A lot of the time I simply cannot comprehend the difficulties they have been through & are still consistently facing- imagine having a baby in a country where you have no family, communication is limited, you’re not even sure how or where to buy nappies! Having a baby is an exciting and vulnerable time in anyone’s life, what makes their stories stand out to me is the incredible perspective that has come from their journeys and the sense of hope & resilience they display despite the evident hardships.

We were all created equally and earth was created to be our home- this is not the reality we are living in 2018 & we might not be able to change the world overnight- but we can do something, in fact coming from a life of privilege means I have a responsibility to at the very least do “something”. 


Proverbs 31:8-9

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.

Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.


Why did you choose OneCare to donate to?

I chose to donate the funds raised to One Care because of the practical focus of there community minded programs. Programs are developed based on carefully determining and meeting the need with an outcome that promotes safe and healthy community & relationship amongst a range of groups and individuals. 

The counselling & specifically the mentoring offered to refugees not only offers valuable practical skills in areas such as guidance with small business, but also builds relationships which is essential for refugee & community health, wellbeing & development. 

I wanted to give back locally to a community that has given so much to me. I could not think of a better organisation! 


You must be running in the most exotic places along way from home. How does running for a cause separate the experience from your other travel experiences?

The best part about traveling is not just the place you experience but the people you meet! Running for a cause has been such a wonderful talking point & is often the gateway to learning other people’s perspectives and insight to refugees! It has even created a point of connection with people through the enthusiasm and encouragement people from all countries and cultures have shown. I’ve learnt that Hope for Humanity is generally something that resonates with most people and is away of connecting with others despite culture differences & language barriers! It hugely contrasts standing in line to get through yet another customs or passport check- running for a cause has served as a reminder of how amazing the opportunity to travel is & time out amongst the craziness of this big world!


What happens when the weather is really bad, you just don't feel like running or people are looking at you weirdly?

This question made me laugh out loud especially the people looking at you weirdly part- because I’ve definitely had a few weird looks getting up early for a run amongst a hostel filled with people who have been partying all night.

The depths of winter have been the most challenging! Especially when it was snowing! So magical- yet not convenient for running! I have found myself reading blogs about how best to run in the snow & even buying special snow grips for my shoes! It’s also especially hard when in a new place (which can be almost every 4 days at times!) it can be hard to know where to start! I once found myself 10kms away from our accomodation in the snow, no money, 5% phone battery and all alone when my only goal was to run a quick 5kms (I have a terrible sense of direction). My husband Fraser is the most amazing encouragement, he’s always gently reminding me of why I decided to do this, and even getting up first to go for a run with me when it’s 0 degrees outside & he is the first person to cheer me on when I cross off another 100kms! I have been so blessed to have so much support and encouragement from friends, family & travellers we’ve met alone the way it definitely makes the the blisters and wet shoes worth it! 


What is some of your favourite feedback from people who have donated?

It really has blown my mind at the broad scope of people who have donated and sent me encouragement! I even had a lovely Air BNB host from Ireland donate to my cause after we stayed with her on our travels. It will always surprise me just how many people from all walks of life who have sent me encouragement and even donated to the cause! I’ve had people who I haven’t seen or spoken to for years donate and it has been so inspiring! Some of the youth kids I used to mentor in my youth leading days have also donated and sent me encouragement and that really touched my heart, I was a youth leader for 5 years but finished up at least 6 years ago now & it was so cool to be so blessed by some of the kids I used to hang out with- although they are no longer kids anymore! 


What are some of the highlights of your running adventure?

Highlights are always so hard to choose!! Probably the amazing opportunity it has given me to talk about refugees with people from all over the world and gain other countries cultural perspective and insight! My favourite runs have been along the River Thames in London- I was star stuck every time running past Big Ben & the houses of Parliament! Also in Valencia Spain because of the beautiful temperatures and wonderful parks. 


Where are you heading? Do you have an idea about where your last few kilometres might be or is that too far off?

We are currently in South America to escape some of the depths of European Winter! South America is so different and has definitely created a few different challenges I haven’t encountered yet when it comes to this running adventure, such as the high altitudes and rougher environments. 

It’s a little bit hard to tell where I’ll be for the last few KMs as we are not sure of all of our travel destinations as yet! But I know we are excited to spend a bit of time on Italy! So that would be a great place to get too 1000kms!


How much money are you hoping to raise?

My first goal was $5,000 when I started the cause and I was a little bit nervous that I’d taken on a bit much, but with the amazing generosity shown I definitely think it is achievable, and possibly a bit more! 


Where can people follow your running adventures?

The best place to follow my adventure, keep me accountable with my running tracks, send encouragement & see updates and photos of the trip in on Instagram!