Why our City2Surf Charity Superstars support the ASC

Georgia Chapman and Nicko Keene are running the City2Surf this year as ASC Charity Superstars, raising money for people seeking asylum. July 24, 2023

Georgia Chapman

City2Surf Charity Superstar Georgia Chapman pictured in ASC running bib

What inspired you to participate in the City2Surf this year?

I enrolled in the City2Surf as I wanted a goal to work towards, and I wanted to put my time and energy to good use. Training is a great way to maintain my physical and mental health, and it’s even better knowing that my participation in City2Surf may allow someone’s life to improve, even a little.


Why did you choose to raise funds for ASC?

I’m a social work student, and I was fortunate enough to be assigned ASC to complete my placement. Since being a part of ASC, I have seen and worked with beautiful and brave people fighting for their needs and those of their families. Due to the laws surrounding those seeking refugee status, it’s often very difficult for them to access employment, medicare, education and more, causing poverty, isolation, mental illness and homelessness. I’ve had to turn down those begging for money because ASC just doesn’t have the funds to support everyone. I want to be able to contribute, and help a single mother fleeing domestic violence and terrorism access formula for her baby, or help parents pay for breakfast so that their child who has experienced trauma doesn’t have to go to school hungry, or help a grandfather with a disability to afford dental care. These people are fighting for their lives, and are capable of great things, if only they had the opportunity to do so.

I come from a place of privilege. I got to go to school, I never feared starvation or homelessness, I have never witnessed war or terrorism or family violence. I can wear, do, learn and say what I want, and I feel safe and secure in my country. I have never had to flee my home, I have always been able to access healthcare, I am able-bodied and surrounded by support systems. I am incredibly fortunate to have the life that I do, and I feel grateful to have the opportunity to run for ASC to put this privilege that I have to good use.


Has volunteering at ASC changed your worldview? What have you learnt working at ASC?

I came into placement knowing why people flee their homes and seek asylum. What I didn’t know upon starting were the incredible legal and political complications surrounding visas, documentation, accommodation, employment, and countless other aspects of life that most of us take for granted. I have learned about absurd waiting times, severely limited funds, incredibly specific eligibility criteria, and incredibly complicated legal situations. However, I have also learned about strength, dedication, optimism, gratitude, patience and the human spirit.


Why do you think it’s important to spread the word about ASC and issues surrounding people seeking asylum?

I don’t know how to express that people should care about one another. It’s a belief that led me to social work and to ASC. It’s a belief I see in the people I work alongside, and it’s a belief that is strengthened when I see it reflected in the people who have more cause than most of us to become bitter and jaded. ASC exists because people care, but I wish it didn’t have to. Every person who listens, who cares, who donates, who runs, who spreads the word, allows a little more love and care in the world.


Nicko Keene

ASC City2Surf Charity Superstar Nicko Keene

What inspired you to participate in the City2Surf this year?

A friend and I used to run it every year growing up, we even started dressing up in costume when we were teenagers (me as a banana and Ev as superman was a highlight). Having just moved back to Sydney from overseas it felt like a great opportunity to pick it back up again.


Why did you choose to raise funds for ASC?

My mum has been volunteering at the Asylum Seekers Centre, and the stories I’ve heard from her have been a mix of heartbreaking and inspiring. It’s a great cause and I hope to be able to make a small difference by raising some money.


Why do you think it’s important to help support people seeking asylum?

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a safe place and a well-provided home, and have never had to face any of the sort of hardships that those seeking asylum have gone through. It’s important that we do what we can to make that tough process easier or to give them better opportunities once they arrive in Australia.


Why do you think spreading the word about ASC and issues surrounding people seeking asylum is important?

The more people realise how big of an issue this is in Australia, the more likely they are to support through donations or volunteering.


If you’re inspired by Georgia and Nicko, you can fundraise alongside them at City2Surf or donate today!


ASC fundraiser Marlene Griffin awarded 2023 NSW Humanitarian Award Tribute to ASC Board Member Betty Hounslow AM