Melbourne couple Lisa Buxton and Ariel Lakman have kept a busy schedule planning a wedding and moving into a new home since recently returning to Australia after living in New York.
However, on top of their priority list has been a visit to Kew specialist school, St Paul’s College, to deliver a cheque for almost $29,000.
While living in New York the couple raised the money for St Paul’s Build a Bus appeal, supporting students with disabilities to get to and from school.
They organised a group of about 50 people to walk in the New York Lap4Life fundraiser in September last year and hoped to raise about $10,000.
The couple said they challenged themselves for one day to help others that were challenged every day.
“The idea came from when we were walking one day (in New York) and how easy it was to walk 200 blocks and we really wanted to do it for people who potentially couldn’t walk a block,” Lisa said.
Ultimately the group smashed their fundraising target, raising just under $29,000 and walking 55km around Manhattan in about 11 hours.
Lisa’s cousins attend Gateway Services in Kew, an activity program for adults with a disability, which is located next to the school and both services are run by Villa Maria Catholic Homes.
“There are so many charities that are doing amazing work… and we wanted to focus on an organisation that we knew was doing amazing things,” Ariel said.
“We heard about the amazing work that Villa Maria Catholic Homes and St Paul’s were doing and we heard about Build a Bus – that sounded perfect to us.”
The couple said they received great support from sponsors, especially Bluestone Lane, a café in New York which sells Aussie coffee and breakfast – who kept the walkers nourished on the day.
They celebrated their Big Apple achievement in a very Aussie way – with Coopers beers and sausage rolls.
VMCH CEO Greg Pullen thanked the couple for their “amazing achievement”.
“This donation will go such a long way to supporting a service that is so vital to the school community. We can’t thank them enough.”