The death of a close friend to brain cancer five years ago inspired an Albury woman to raise more awareness of the disease on the Border.
Sheila Smith wanted to do something to pay tribute to the life of Tessa Calder, who lost her battle with brain cancer at the age of 22 in 2016, just 18 months after she was diagnosed.
Ms Smith has organised a third annual Walk 4 Brain Cancer, to be held at Lavington Sports Ground on October 10 to raise funds and awareness for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.
The inaugural walk and run attracted 300 people and raised $30,000, and after COVID forced it to go virtual in 2020, Ms Smith is excited to be back to a somewhat normal format.
Her initial target was $10,000, but close to $15,000 has been raised a week out from the event.
"It's something I otherwise wouldn't have had a connection to and Tessa has definitely given me the motivation to keep running it," Ms Smith said.
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"Two years ago I didn't realise the impact all of these other stories would have on me, so it's motivated me further to keep running it.
"I've realised there's a bit of a gap in Albury that there isn't anything for people who have been touched by brain cancer.
"You can see by how many people have come on board with it, so we're very happy to be doing it.
"For a long time it didn't get a lot of publicity or fundraising, but over the last few years there's been a few prominent figures who have brought it to the forefront and it's really changed the fundraising efforts towards it."
Ms Smith said this year's event will be five years to the day since Tessa's death.
"We always hold it in October, so I knew one year it would come up and it's going to be an extra special event for me," she added.
Only one in five people is expected to live longer than five years after a brain cancer diagnosis.
The Albury Walk 4 Brain Cancer will be capped at 500 people, with participants to complete as many laps of the football oval in the space of an hour.
"Every registration counts towards our tally and on top of that people can create teams and get people to donate to those teams," Ms Smith said.
"It's all done online to set up your own team or join a team and fundraise from there.
"People are still joining, but I'm guessing we'll be maybe on par with the 300 we got two years ago.
"I wasn't expecting 300 two years ago, so who knows what to expect this year."
Anyone interested in joining the walk can register at walk4braincancer.com.au/walks/albury-2/.
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