Two Emmanuel College students are hoping their Sunday stroll takes big steps towards finding a cure for brain cancer.
Patrick Rea and Flynn Wilkinson are participating in Connor’s Run in Melbourne on Sunday.
The teenagers will join 4000 participants in the annual fund-raiser stretching their legs over a distance of 9.6 kilometres from Sandringham to the Mercantile boatsheds on the Yarra.
This was the route that Robert Connor Dawes ran in 2011, two months before he was diagnosed with brain cancer that eventually took his life in 2013 when he was aged 18.
Now in its sixth year, the annual event has raised $2.2 million for research into paediatric brain cancer.
Warrnambool-based Robert Connor Dawes (RCD) ambassador Virginia Rea, who lost her 11 year-old daughter Pippa to brain cancer in March 2015, said it would be the first time Pippa’s brother would participate.
“This year is the first time Patrick is able to come to Melbourne with me and do Connor's Run on Sunday,” she said. “Unfortunately (her other son) James still has Hampden football league umpiring commitments but we’ll be joined by Pippa's very good friend Flynn Wilkinson.”
Ms Rea said the event had already exceeded financial expectations.
“The target was $700,000 but by Monday morning they’d already reached that,” she said. “It all goes to research, which is just so important. The brain is so much more complex than other body parts and children shouldn’t have to die no matter what.”
Patrick, a fan of middle-distance running, said he’d go the extra mile in his sister’s memory.
Flynn said it felt good to be giving back to such a good friend.
“She’s done heaps for me and changed me as a person,” Flynn said. “I’d do anything for her. A run is the least I can do for her.”
The boys’ school, Emmanuel College, offered support by contributing $500 toward the run.
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