Belinda Teh reaches WA on Brave Walk for change

Dying with dignity: Perth woman Belinda Teh in Esperance on her walk for change to voluntary assisted dying laws. Photo: Jesinta Burton.
Dying with dignity: Perth woman Belinda Teh in Esperance on her walk for change to voluntary assisted dying laws. Photo: Jesinta Burton.

Perth woman Belinda Teh has arrived in Esperance this week after embarking on a 4,500 kilometre walk from Melbourne to Perth to raise awareness for voluntary assisted dying.

The 70-day trek is in honour of Miss Teh's mother, who died from aggressive breast cancer in 2016.

The 27-year-old is due to arrive at Parliament House in Perth on August 6.

Miss Teh will stop in the Great Southern, South West and Peel regions before taking to parliament house to call for assisted dying laws in WA.

Despite twice asking for assistance to die, Miss Teh's mother was refused by her doctors on the grounds that assisted dying was not a legal option.

Miss Teh said she would be encouraging Western Australians to lobby their politicians to vote positively on this legislation, with the Bill due to be voted on later this year.

"I'm sending a message to politicians that have just returned from their holiday that we've got something to do in the second year and that's to pass the voluntary assisted dying bill," Ms Teh said.

"My beautiful mum Mareia experienced a horrific death which modern medicine and caring specialists could not save her from - and I don't want her suffering to be in vain.

"I remember hearing that the legislation had passed [in Victoria] and realising that my mum missed out on this option by 3 years and 3,000 kilometres.

"I remember thinking that it was so close, I could have walked there.

"I honestly thought that I would begin walking from Melbourne to Perth and no one would give a rat's but, instead, I've had a lot of media attention and I've been really blown away.

"I get bombarded by messages of support but one that really stands out to me was a gentleman Max Green, who saw me walking on a road in the middle of western Victoria, did a U turn, walked up to me with tears in his eyes and said 'your walk means so much to me because I am a cancer survivor and I'm afraid the cancer will come back'.

"He began walking with me and caught up with me the following day and presented me with a huge donation and a map of places that I should camp.

"A week or so later, he surprised me in Adelaide on the day I was walking to parliament house.

"I thought that was the last of it, but he had a gentleman offer me a rose at the border."

While initially shocked by the national attention the walk garnered, Ms Teh said she realised that the issue resonated with many that had been in the same situation.

"For a while, it shocked me, but there are so many people who have been in my shoes and have witnessed their mother or father express wishes of wanting to speed up this process," she said.

"This is an issue that resonates with so many.

"My mother was in pain for that entire period but, from one day to the next, my mum lost the ability to walk.

"I feel it's symbolic, I've almost taken it upon myself to do what my mother couldn't at the time."

Miss Teh is expected to arrive in Nannup on Saturday July 20, Augusta on Monday July 22 and Margaret River from Tuesday July 23 and Wednesday July 24.

She will arrive in Busselton on Friday July 26, Peppermint Grove Beach on Saturday July 27 before arriving in Bunbury on Sunday July 28.

To follow Belinda's journey, visit www.belindasbravewalk.org.au