Australian dad James Brougham is setting the dad-life bar high, running 500km while pushing his kids in a wheelbarrow to raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS).

So far, the single father and his young sidekicks, both under the age of six, have made it 387km, raising AUD $7,196 for the medical aviation organisation founded by the Reverend John Flynn in 1928.

Relying heavily on donations to stay solvent, the RFDS is the largest non-government aeromedical organisation in the world, serving over 300,000 patients in remote areas from North Western Australia, around, and down towards Victoria.

Flying High

Using a $200 concreter’s wheelbarrow, pimped out with cushions and plush toys, James told Triple M Karratha that he figured the under-used transport was better than paying through the teeth for a running pram.

The Brougham trio joined the Royal Flying Doctors service Oceans to Outback challenge after being inspired by friends.

Brougham told the ABC his ‘original fundraising target was $1,000.’

Instead of leaving it there, he said, “I’ve upped it now to quite a lot more than that, to something I thought was relatively unrealistic, but still within reason. We’ll just keep going and see how much we can raise for them.”

Talking to ABC Fremantle, Brougham said that given the seasonal change in temperatures, most of the run will be done before sunrise.

Life of Adventure

Wheelbarrow fund-racing isn’t the Brougham’s only out-of-the-box dad manoeuvre.

The RFDS fundraiser is a slight Dampier detour from the family’s slow journey around Australia.

Brougham left the rat race a few years ago after purchasing Salty Jocks, a single-handed yacht, to live on.

Leaving the hyperinflated Perth rental market and suburban complacency behind, the 31-year-old decided to follow a dream, learn how to sail, and go on adventures with his kids.

Speaking with 9News, Brougham said, “Our prospects were pretty damn bleak, to be totally honest, but I thought if I could get the boat, I knew I could work it out, I also wanted the girls to see what the world was like outside of living in suburbia and going to school.”

“Most dads,” he said, “don’t get to spend so much of the younger years with their kids. I really wanted this, and I didn’t care if it was going to be hard.”’

The sea-life change includes homeschooling, juggling the ups and downs of raising two daughters under 6, keeping the renovated boat afloat, and making sure his kids are safe.

Asked by the Sunrise 7 team about what she thought of their dad and daughter adventures, Brougham’s eldest called them “cool.”

Learning on the Job

There’s no challenging the fact that this Perth dad is taking “the hardest route possible,” and he knows it.

Brougham is a raw recruit, both in the dad world and the sailing arena.

Living on and caring for a boat comes with risk. It’s also about as scary, and as big of a commitment as being a father and home educator is.

With all the moxie this takes to step into and carry, taking on an RFDS fundraiser challenge, and then upping the ante, is a no-brainer.

The media coverage doesn’t hurt.

Drawing national attention to his efforts is a smart way of marketing his Salty Jocks online platform, which will help build and fund his family’s sea-life change through social media monetising.

Clever use of win-win marketing aside, when it comes to doing life together with his kids, the Brougham boat appears to set a standard, encouraging dads to follow in its wake.

About the Author: Rod Lampard

Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.

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