Tom Hughson is no stranger to ultramarathon events and has completed a few different charity challenges in the past. But when the opportunity came to take on his biggest challenge yet, a 65km ultramarathon through the Avon Valley in Western Australia, Tom drew on his biggest inspiration, his sister Alana.
Earlier this year at 13 weeks pregnant, and with a 16-month-old child at home, Alana received a shock breast cancer diagnosis.
“It was a Friday afternoon when Alana called me and told me the words that floored me. Through tears she said, “I have breast cancer”.
“The questions I had around chemo, radiation, and the baby’s welfare, were all racing through my head, although all I could ask is “Are you ok?”, explained Tom.
“Battling breast cancer would be a big enough fight let alone being pregnant. I had no idea what was about to happen although I knew if anyone could fight this, it would be Alana.”
Throughout her breast cancer experience, Alana and her family have been supported by McGrath Breast Care Nurse Leah. It was through witnessing the vital support a breast care nurse provides that Tom decided to use the marathon challenge as an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for the McGrath Foundation.
“Leah was that shining light when everything was going wrong. The support a McGrath Breast Care Nurse can provide is beyond words and something my family will be forever grateful for,” said Tom.
“I wanted to raise funds for the McGrath Foundation to ensure that more McGrath Breast Care Nurses like Leah could be funded as she has been an integral support to Alana and our family. A little bit of pain over 65km is my way of raising awareness.”
In the lead-up and throughout the marathon Tom shared his journey on Facebook, spreading his sister’s story and guiding motivation as far and wide as he could. As a result, Tom not only achieved his fundraising target but exceeded it, reaching a huge $2,159.
It’s through incredible community fundraisers like Tom that the McGrath Foundation can continue to work towards our mission of ensuring no one goes through breast cancer without the care of a breast care nurse.
If you’re interested in raising funds for the McGrath Foundation, there’s always a fun way to fundraise! With Breast Cancer Awareness Month right around the corner, there’s no better time to host a pink morning tea, dye your hair pink, or tackle a fitness challenge. Tom also has some great advice for anyone looking to get involved.
“Don’t think about what can’t be done or reasons not to do a fundraising event, just jump in and start and figure it out from there. So many amazing ideas are halted by the what ifs and self-doubts,” shares Tom.
“Be authentic with your story and your why, and then share it with everyone. The more involved you are in the event; the more others will be too.
“For me, the emotional connection and pride I feel towards my sister sharing her journey and changing lives, made this easy to promote. She [Alana] is sharing such an amazing message and will change the lives of others and I am super proud to share that with everyone I can.
“Every extra voice will provide more support so register any event big or small, start a conversation and let’s ensure the amazing work McGrath Breast Care Nurses do continues”.
Pink is the Colour of October!
Pink is the Colour of love, of life, of hope, of care. Host a Pink Stumps Day, Pink Up Your Town or fundraise your way this Breast Cancer Awareness Month (1-31 Oct) and do it in Pink to show your support for those experiencing breast cancer.
Your support will move us closer towards a future where no one goes through breast cancer without the care of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse.