WHEN Caitlin Hutchinson’s father, Gordon, was admitted to hospital following a stroke, little did she know that he had less than three weeks to live.
“My dad was admitted for treatment of his stroke, but tests showed he also had signs of shadowing on the brain,” Ms Hutchinson said.
“A biopsy confirmed that he had brain cancer.
“After that diagnosis, his condition deteriorated rapidly and he passed away only 18 days after he was admitted.”
Ms Hutchison, from Mornington, remembers her father as one of the most selfless people she knew.
“He was like a big teddy bear, always there to help other people out and was always putting his mates first,” she said.
“He was heavily involved in the pony club, and was known as the ‘pony club dad’ – always trying to help and encourage other people.”
Ms Hutchinson said that before her father’s experience, brain cancer was not something she was really aware of.
She had known one or two other people with the disease, but started to take more of an interest and research the disease after her family was personally affected.
Ms Hutchinson said she wanted to see a greater investment in brain cancer research to reduce the number of deaths from the disease.
This desire is shared by brain cancer survivor Senator Catryna Bilyk, the organiser of the fifth annual Walk4BrainCancer Tasmania.
The event is being held on Sunday 4 November at Dru Point Bicentennial Park in Margate.
Walk4BrainCancer is a fundraiser for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, which has been working for the past 17 years to fund research and advocacy to improve brain cancer survival.
Senator Bilyk said despite major advances in cancer survivability, the survival rate of brain cancer had barely moved in decades.
“Only one in five brain cancer patients will survive for five years after their diagnosis, and this rate has barely changed in more than 30 years,” she said.
“Brain cancer still kills more young Australians aged 18 to 40 than any other cancer and, tragically, more Australian children than any other disease.
“We must turn this around.”
In addition to an inspirational walk along the shores of North West Bay, Walk4BrainCancer will feature a sausage sizzle, raffle, merchandise sales and live musical entertainment.
Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.
Ms Hutchinson, who is delivering a speech for a memorial service at the event, said her father’s experience had taught her the importance of appreciating every day of life.
“Do not take any day for granted because you never know what’s going to happen,” she said.
To register for Walk4BrainCancer online or sponsor another participant, visit www.walk4braincancer.com.au.
Caption: The Hutchinson family, from left, Gordon, Caitlin, Debbie and Nic.