More than 770 women and men stepped out from Perth’s Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research at 7am on Saturday 29 May in the Walk for Women’s Cancer to raise much needed funds for WA cancer research.
It is estimated more than 150,000 women and men will be diagnosed with cancer in Australia in 2021.
The top individual fundraiser Peter Iancov who raised $27,105 and the top team Blistering for a Cause raised $62,091.
Harry Perkins Institute CEO Professor Peter Leedman AO said the efforts of these walkers is very moving, as many have lost family members to cancer and many are cancer survivors.
“They truly make a difference to cancer research in WA.”
Professor Leedman says only medical research will find new discoveries and treatments for cancer.
“There are still some extremely aggressive forms of breast cancer where the gene profile is yet to be fully understood.
“For ovarian cancer, there is currently no easy test for it and too often women have only minor symptoms and it is often too late when cancer is detected.
“We urgently need more research with ovarian cancer patients to move closer to developing a simple blood test which would change the abysmal outcomes that currently exist for many women,” said Professor Leedman.
An Indigenous team Moorditj Mob that includes Aboriginal Research Officer Danielle Headland and her 67 year old father Douglas are walking to honour Danielle’s mother who died of uterine cancer in 2013, two years after diagnosis.
“It felt like it happened really quickly once she started showing symptoms.”
COVID restrictions meant last year’s Walk for Women’s Cancer was held as individual walks, with the option to complete the 35km distance whenever and wherever walkers wanted during a set week.
“We’ve retained that option this year and have more walkers than ever registered. One walker has already completed his 35kms in Madrid and another is about to embark on a camel trek in the Simpson Desert.
“This is the first time we have had camels joining in the Walk,” he said.
However, a hardy majority will be knocking off the 35km circuit through the suburbs and around the river in the rain this morning.
Some are committed to completing a marathon distance of 42kms and one breast cancer survivor, Connie Nicoletti-Lewins is walking 70kms.
“I need to push myself to feel worthy of everyone’s donation. These people who are suffering, these researchers who are working so hard to find a solution, all these people motivate me so I’m going to push myself as well,” she said.
All proceeds from the Walk for Women’s Cancer go to research in the nine cancer laboratories at the Harry Perkins Institute where scientists are investigating the fundamental causes and possible new treatments for breast and ovarian cancers.
Professor Leedman said funding for medical research in Australia has declined significantly in the past four decades.
“Currently researchers across Australia average only a 10% chance of receiving funding from the major national grants providers. Previously up to 40% of grant applications were funded.
“That means for the significant time dedicated to writing one grant application, a researcher has less than a one in ten chance of success.
“Yet the economic, health and community benefits of a thriving medical research sector are overwhelming.
“For every dollar invested, Australian medical research returns $3.90 in benefits to the population”, Professor Leedman said.
For more information visit www.walkforwomenscancer.org.au
For media enquiries and interviews please contact: Miriam Borthwick [email protected] 0437 411 683