Walk for their Lives 1915

walk for their lives 1915- 2015



One Man and his Dog … to walk 2000km, 5 countries,

20,000 Euro,all in aid of children suffering from cancer

 Dear Friends,

Mark Keating, from Whitewater Foundation here to tell you about an incredible historic challenge…

I would like to invite you to join me on a really special historical challenge ‘Walk for their Lives 1915-2015, by helping me raise enough money to buy badly needed equipment for children with cancer, here in Ireland and also in Serbia.

I have visited two amazing children’s cancer wards, and have personally met the children who suffer from cancer. My aim is to raise enough money to buy vital new specialist equipment which will really help their tough young lives for cancer patients of St. John’s ward in Our Lady’s Children Hospital Crumlin, and also a very special children’s cancer department in Belgrade.

As with other challenges we have completed in the past, 100% of the money you donate will go directly to buy specific life-saving equipment to help improve the lives of these children in St John’s ward in Crumlin hospital. Fundraising for the Belgrade hospital will be done separately.

Pajo and mark

The inspiration for this latest challenge comes from two amazing men I am related to, my own Great-Grandfather, and my Grandfather-in law from Serbia, whose story came together 100 years ago this year, as they had to Walk for their Lives on the same side during the First World War, and incredibly, survived.

With this combined inspiration of wills to live in my mind, and the truly inspirational Children fighting for their lives to free themselves of cancer, myself and my dog Pajo will retrace their historic steps and Walk for their Lives.




The Story of the Great Serbian Retreat of 1915

Soldiers walking over the high mountains of Montenegro November 1915

Soldiers walking over the high mountains of Montenegro November 1915

One hundred years ago this year, the First World War was in its second year….

In October 1915 the last survivors of Serbian Army, government, civilians, and some 30,000 boys were evacuated from their homes and country as they were chased by the German, Austrian, and Bulgarian army’s out of their homeland.

450,000 people, soldiers, refuges, families, and young boys set off to escape capture by walking over the high mountains of Montenegro and Albania to the relative safety of the tiny island of Corfu.


They did this to remain free, rather than surrender, as they one day hoped that they would be able to fight to free their country once again.

Over 240,000 people Died on this perilous retreat from severe cold, frostbite, lack of food, and disease. 




One of those lucky to survive the “Great Serbian Retreat” was my grandfather in law, Dobrosav Petrovic after he survived the march over the mountains he reached Corfu where he caught Typhus and was left for dead.

Thomas Frederick Vaughan and Dobrosav Petrovic

Thomas Frederick Vaughan and Dobrosav Petrovic

He was about to be buried at sea along with others, but by chance a friend just recognized him and pulled him from his death bed. With the help of this friend he recovered and rejoined his battalion and was sent to (Marseille) to fight in France along the western front.

Later in 1917 he was sent to Salonika in Greece to fight alongside the Allies and Irish regiments, Amazingly one of those men who was a 2nd Lieutenant was my own great Grandfather Thomas Frederick Vaughan, who was with the London Irish Regiment and who also fought on the Salonika front. They both eventually helped to push the foreign troops out of Serbia in 1918




Walk for their Lives 1915 – 2015

Walk for Kids 2015 route, 2000 kilometres, and Marko and Pajo

Walk for Kids 2015 route, 2000 kilometres, and Marko and Pajo

Today, 100 years later, to remember these Irish and Serbian men who died and survived and who took part in these long forgotten historic events, I will be retracing their steps to help today’s children suffering with cancer.

This walk will take me through 5 Balkan countries, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, and Macedonian, a total of 2,000 km over some of the highest mountains in the region during the autumn and winter of 2015.

I will not be traveling on my own this time, my dog Pajo wants to come with me, he is a very hardy three year old Labrador, from Clare.






Please help me to raise the 20,000.00 euro needed for the vital equipment to help the lives of these little soldiers.




IRISH CELTIC CROSS of the former Serbian border, now Greece where Irish soldiers are buried.



1. Click on donate button on www.whitewaterfoundation.org to donate any amount


2 Write a cheque to WHITEWATER FOUNDATION  for any amount.

Address UNIT T32 Stillorgan Industrial Park, Blackrock, Co Dublin. 


3.    SHARE      

I am walking 2,000 kms and aim to raise over €20,000 – that’s €10 a kilometre. To see my progress and to let others know about my challenge to help all children with cancer.  

 SHARE and LIKE my page on FACEBOOK 


3. Walk with Me and Pajo, along the way, anyone can join me, if they have the time!!!!  I will need food and shelter along and lots of encouragement along the way, warm houses and hot food will be very welcome,  Pajo will need lots of food!!!!


If you’ve any questions, or need further info on how to get involved please contact me through facebook at whitewater foundation.



Mark and Pajo