George's Run has raised over $7600 for autism research!

16 Nov 2023

Melbourne Metro train driver and driver trainer George Chijarira has just completed his solo seven day Adelaide to Melbourne walk/run/cycle and has raised over $7600 for autism research. The 822km journey was an emotional one for George who had been in training for 3 months in preparation for the big event.

A Zimbabwean migrant success story; George moved to Melbourne just under a decade ago. His seven year old autistic son Jordan was the fuel behind George’s passion to raise awareness of autism.

Usually George can be found on the metro trains network driving trains along with training new drivers anywhere from the Werribee line to Frankston or Craigieburn. His journey in life took him as a youth from Harare, Zimbabwe to Tanzania where in the wake of the Rwandan Genocide his parents worked for the United Nations as part of the International Criminal Tribunal. George went to High School in Kenya before moving to the UK and then to South Africa where he graduated from Monash University as a Software Engineer before moving to Melbourne.

He has been participating in charitable runs for autism for some time to raise funds and this was the idea behind ‘George’s Run’, an event aiming to raise $50,000 for autism research with all donations going to support Autism CRC’s collaborative research initiatives.

“I wanted to make some noise and get some attention” said George. The maiden leg of his journey from Adelaide Oval was marked by The Hon Emily Bourke, Assistant Minister for Autism, South Australia.

“I learnt so much about myself along the journey” said George. “A lot of people are quite aware of the effect autism has on families. If I brought the subject even to the attention of one person’s mind this is a success. The ride logistics and support happened as we planned them; it’s a huge sense of achievement. My ride was to raise awareness of autism, so even if it just touched one individual to learn about autistic people that is a success. Hopefully it will have a snowball effect”.

In some ways George feels his journey was a metaphor for his life so far; uphill, downhill and then with time to rest and relax in between. On the road he had plenty of time to think about his life and all the things that have happened so far; the travels, losing his parents and starting a new life in Australia. “I feel really blessed. People here are beyond friendly. Melbourne is so multicultural; I don’t feel like I’m in a minority.”

And now, after finishing his ride at Fed Square Melbourne late last Saturday, November 11, he’s back to work and his life journey continues.

George’s Run was sponsored by Prodigy Health Solutions, a Melbourne based nursing agency, with funds supporting Autism CRC.