Albert Clarke, a 73-year old endurance athlete, does not fit the stereotype. He is, after all, an Indigenous person and he is older than what an average Indigenous Australian is expected to reach in age.
Albert is taking part in a run for his community at Framlingham to help mark the opening of the new health and community centre "Koolang Muutang." He started his run today at 9.00am at the steps of the Parliament House in Melbourne.
Albert is one of the people that shows that positive stories do happen in Indigenous communities. He is also proof that being connected to country and a community in charge of its own destiny is the best medicine for healthy Aborigines. Oxfam Australia threw its support behind Albert for his run.
“Albert is an inspiring example of an older Aboriginal man who has taken action to improve his own health and, by undertaking the ultra marathon, to highlight the need to close the gap between the life expectancy and health of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
At 73 years, Albert has defied the unacceptable statistic that show Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men dying at an average age of just 56 years”, said Fiona Moore, Oxfam Australia’s National Manager for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s program.
Oxfam Australia is part of a nation-wide Close the Gap campaign. Bringing together more than 40 Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations, the campaign calls on federal, state and territory governments to commit to closing the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation.
The campaign calls on Australian governments to take action to achieve health equality for Indigenous Australians within 25 years through:
- Increasing annual Indigenous health funding by $460 million to enable equal access to health services
- Increasing Indigenous control and participation in the delivery of health services
- Addressing critical social issues such as housing, education and self-determination which contribute to the Indigenous health crisis
Another prominent Indigenous Australian sports figure, Kyle van der Kuyp showed his support for Albert’s run and the symbolic value of it.
“It’s great to see an Aboriginal elder take on the challenge to be fit and healthy. He is an inspiration for young, old and all communities in Australia particularly the Aboriginal community in Framlingham. We need more great examples like this to help close the 17 year life expectancy gap," said Kyle.
Albert is scheduled to reach the Koolang Muutang community centre for the planned opening on 16 November.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Albert Clarke call Vedran Drakulic on 0409 960 100 or Michael Fitzgerald on 0407 871 201