Leading through grief on the Larapinta

Life is short, precious and it can change in an instant. ARLF Fellow, Donna Digby, needs no reminding of this. After the sudden loss of her husband Matt last year, Donna is well versed in the unpredictable ebbs and flows of life. The devastating experience is now spurring the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) C27 alum to seize every day and fuelling a drive to create her own leadership legacy through the program.  

Before Matt passed away, the pair talked in depth about a potential fundraising event on the Larapinta Trail, helping to create another supported ARLP place for a fellow Northern Territorian.  

“This fundraiser is an idea that Matt and I spoke about at length. He was such an experienced outdoor educator, natural leader who generously shared his knowledge, and loved learning from those around him,” Donna says.  

“He knew connecting a fundraiser to nature was the way to go. Twelve months following his passing, I realised that he would want me to continue with the walk. One of his favourite sayings was “your word, is your worth”. 

Donna Digby on program with the ARLP

One foot in front of the other

Embracing the poignant concept of the four ‘G’s—Generosity in Grief allowing Growth through Giving—Donna sees this endeavour as a tribute not just to Matt’s memory but also to the spirit of generosity that she herself benefited from, thanks to the support of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation. It is her way of paying forward the kindness she has received. 

Donna’s vision has since materialised into Territory Connect, a social enterprise dedicated to assisting fellow Territorians to reach their full leadership potential.  Through the inaugural Larapinta Fundraising Walk scheduled for May 23-31 this year, Donna will be partnering with Benji Kenny, a friend, colleague and leader in his own right as the owner of the First Nations-owned 100% Finke River Culture and Adventure. 

The call to action has resonated with ARLF alumni, drawing together a group of determined individuals ready to lace up their boots for the 100 km journey and assist with fundraising efforts. Among those joining Donna are Ellen Smith, (ARLP C27), Eileen Breen (ARLP C30), Natalie Somerville (ARLP C30 ), Nicole Walsh (LARC), Rayleen Brown (TRAIL Program), Trudi Bartlett Rice, (C27 ARLP) and Wendy Agar (National Mentoring Program). Fellow regional leaders Sean Rice, Maxi Fonte and Wendy Agar will are also taking up the cause. 

For others who may also be interested, Donna extends an open invitation to connect and contribute, be it participating in the walk or supporting the cause through donations made via her website. For further details, contact Donna via email.  

And be sure to keep track of this fabulous initiative. 

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