Great Aussie escape begins at Dubbo

Track boss for the 2016 Great Escape Terry Stewart catches up with Wongarbon s Beryl and Allan Miller who are supporters of the annual event.  
Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
Track boss for the 2016 Great Escape Terry Stewart catches up with Wongarbon s Beryl and Allan Miller who are supporters of the annual event. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

THREE Australian babies will be born with cystic fibrosis as participants in the 2016 Great Escape car rally make their way from Dubbo to Noosa via the Birdsville Races later this year.

Up to 150 people from NSW and interstate are expected to take part in the event that across the past 14 years has raised about $5 million for Cystic Fibrosis Australia (CFA).

The money has been injected into its national data registry that informs research and development of new treatments for the currently incurable genetic condition that affects the lungs and digestive system.

The first Great Escape in 2002 started at Dubbo where a street parade will herald the beginning of the 2016 rally of up to 40 cars that must be at least 20 years old and two-wheel drive.

The 5500-kilometre Great Escape's "track boss", former chief executive officer of CFA Terry Stewart, visited Dubbo this week to encourage residents to get involved.

"Hopefully we will find a team or two that want to have a go at this," he said.

Sydney-based Mr Stewart has been mapping out the 11-day adventure from August 29 to September 8.

The shocking knowledge that "one baby is born with cystic fibrosis every four days" spurs him on.

More than 3000 Australian children and young adults in Australia have the debilitating condition.

"Over the past 15 to 20 years there have been great improvements in terms of management and new drugs," Mr Stewart said.

"Twenty years ago we were losing children in their teens, now life expectancy is the mid-thirties."

Mr Stewart said management of cystic fibrosis involved intensive physiotherapy each day to relieve the lungs of mucus and assist breathing.

Sufferers take up to 40 enzyme tablets a day to aid their digestion.

CFA, which does not receive government funding, seeks to ensure that everyone with the condition gets the best possible care, irrespective of where they live.

In 2016 the Great Escape provides participants with the opportunity to end their journey at either Birdsville or Noosa.

For more information, to enter the rally or make a donation go to thegreatescape.org.au.