SUP4DCA was an amazing charity trek undertaken by adventurer Tom Dunn. For 113 days, Tom stand-up paddleboarded down Australia’s longest continuous waterway to raise over $80,000 for Deaf Children Australia’s Rural Outreach services. If you have an amazing fundraising idea like Tom’s, please get in touch at

Stand Up Paddle Boarding for DCA – or SUP4DCA – was an amazing charity initiative conceived by adventurer Tom Dunn, whose sister Cate is deaf and grew up struggling to access services. Tom aimed to raise $60,000 for Deaf Children Australia’s Rural Outreach program, which connects deaf and hard of hearing children and young people in remote areas with Deaf adult mentors to provide valuable support and advice to both clients and families. This is not Tom’s first time raising funds for deaf and hard of hearing children; he previously kayaked the Murray River in 2014 to raise $15,000 for Aurora School, a preschool and early learning centre in Melbourne that Cate attended as a young child.

Tom departed Warwick, Queensland on January 27 and is making his way down Australia’s longest continuous waterway (spanning the Condamine, Balonne, Culgoa, Darling and Murray Rivers) to finish at the Murray Mouth in Goolwa, South Australia. Tackling five rivers across four states in three months is a huge feat and an amazing effort. DCA is so grateful to Tom and his SUP4DCA teammate, Ashlee Garwood, for their passion and effort in raising much needed funds for deaf and hard of hearing children in rural and remote areas to get the support they need. Tom finished his journey on Friday, 19 May at the Murray Mouth in Goolwa and, when fundraising closed on August 5, reached the incredible total of $81,685 raised for DCA.

Cate’s Story: The Inspiration for SUP4DCA

Cate and Tom laughing together

This journey has been inspired by Tom’s younger sister Cate who was diagnosed as profoundly deaf at birth and has grown up with just a maximum of 12 per cent of hearing in her good ear. As Tom says, their parents Pat and Jane never took a backwards step providing Cate with all the support they could gather. Weekly twelve hour round trips to ensure Cate got the assistance she needed at an Early Intervention Centre in Melbourne, was just one of the many sacrifices the family made to provide Cate with every opportunity to reach her potential. View Cate’s story about growing up in her own words or watch her video in Auslan(with available captions).

SUP4DCA Finale Event

The SUP4DCA finale was a fitting sendoff to an epic trek over land and water. Supporters and well-wishers joined Tom in Horsham on 5 August to hear about his exploits on the river and celebrate the journey coming to an end. The auctions and raffles on the night made SUP4DCA pass its original goal of $60,000 – then a surprise last-second donation pushed the total to over $80,000 for an incredible final result! Read more about the night here or on the Wimmera Mail-Times’ website.

What’s Next for Tom?

On the back of SUP4DCA and his earlier Kayaking the Murray for Aurora trek, Tom has launched his adventure and advocacy career, where he hopes to continue raising much needed funds for different organisations. Visit Tom’s new website What Tom Has Dunn for updates on future adventures!

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