Autism fund-raiser’s cycling adventure could see him stuck between a croc and a hard place
It’s a good thing Per Thomsen, an electrician and snake catcher from Melton, doesn’t get too fussed by cynics.
When the 45-year-old tells them he’s cycling from Melbourne to Cape York to raise funds for Amaze and to boost understanding of autism, they’re quick to suggest he’s lost any capacity to make sound decisions.
The first thing they point out is that he’ll be entering Queensland in its wet season, where he could come across an extraordinary list of potentially dangerous wildlife.
He’s set to contend with snakes, spiders and crocodiles
On land there are venomous snakes and spiders and in water, crocodiles _ a significant concern when you’ll have to cross swollen rivers and camp in a two-man tent.
Per, loving dad of Kai, 12, says: “I will be crossing rivers that are full of crocs so I will have to be careful.
“It means I won’t be wading through any water up north. Even if it’s shallow I will be trying to find people who are prepared to give me a lift across the water. I have done a fair bit of snake handling so I have a bit of bush know-how.
“I’ve done a lot of hiking which will help me get through this physically. I think the mental side of it will be the hardest part. It’s 4,500km and I don’t want to be in amongst highway traffic all the way so I will take a few diversions to get to back roads.”
He took voluntary redundancy to do the trip
Per took voluntary redundancy and has “pretty much sold everything to do the trip”. He’s renting out his house while away. He hopes to complete the cycling adventure in two-and-a-half to three months, with a few rest days thrown in.
The trip has been prompted by the support Kai and his family received from Amaze.
“My son was diagnosed at 5,” Per says.
“I am doing this because I was thinking about the work Amaze does and they gave us exactly what we needed at the time of diagnosis.
“There were a lot of people, specialists and so forth, who didn’t know that much about autism. They’d say, ‘don’t worry, he’ll (Kai) be all right but as a parent you just know when there is something going on that needs to be looked into.
“Amaze helped us get on track to find the supports we wanted for Kai. I think it’s an important story to tell to raise awareness”.