Rare Cancers Australia celebrates 10 Years of the ‘Kosi Challenge’


Leading charity Rare Cancers Australia (RCA) is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its biggest annual fundraising event, the Mount Kosciusko (Kosi) Challenge, on 19 March 2022.

The Kosi Challenge began in 2013 with RCA co-founders Richard and Kate Vines embarking on a 200km walk from Parliament House to Mount Kosciuszko to raise awareness for rare and less common cancers.

“Kate was diagnosed with Medullary Thyroid Cancer in 1991 and like many rare cancer patients, she was told by her doctor that he knew nothing about her condition. There was virtually no awareness of rare cancers at that time,” Richard explained.

“When we set out on that first walk from Canberra we were joined at Thredbo by 30 close friends and family. We had a vision that we might one day be able to provide support to patients across Australia, so they didn’t have to go through their rare cancer journey alone.”

Since that first walk, the Kosi Challenge has grown to become RCA’s biggest annual fundraising event, with over 2,000 participants raising over $3 million for patients to date.

“We couldn’t do what we do without the support we receive through the Kosi Challenge. Donations from the event allow us to fund the work of our Patient Support Team, who provide personalised practical, emotional, and financial support to over 600 patients a year as they try to navigate and cope with their diagnosis. It also allows us to provide urgent crisis payments to patients whose lives have been torn apart by rare cancer,’ Richard explained.

Now in its tenth year, the event hopes to see 550 supporters scale the mountain in person this year. Participants also have the option to pound the pavement at home as Virtual Kosi Challengers; walking or running 25km – or a distance of their choice – in honour of the 25,000 people who lose their lives to rare and less common cancers in Australia each year.

“Over 52,000 people are diagnosed with these cancers each year in Australia. The mortality rate is extremely high and treatment options are limited. Many families face exorbitant out of pocket costs for non-PBS treatments, along with a lack of information and support. It can be an extremely lonely and uncertain journey,” Richard explained.

“All money raised through the Kosi Challenge will go to rare cancer patients who are desperately in need of support in this country. We hope that as many Australians as possible will join us this year, if not on the mountain, then from the comfort of their own suburb,” Richard said.