Lockdown no barrier as Connor’s Run participants smash incredible fundraising target for cancer research

This story first appeared in Bayside Leader, September 29, 2020 6:06pm

By Brittany Goldsmith, Bayside Leader

A booming brain cancer fundraiser has seen more than $1.2 million injected into research this year amid COVID-19.

Lockdown proved no barrier for Connor’s Run participants who throughout September tackled fitness challenges of all sizes in a bid to raise funds for paediatric brain cancer research.

Fitness fanatics usually take on former Brighton Grammar student and brain cancer battler Connor Dawes’ favourite track from Hampton Beach to Alexandra Gardens, but the eighth annual run has seen thousands of participants compete virtually across Melbourne and the world.

Connor was in the prime of his life, training hard to make the school’s rowing team when he was diagnosed with an anaplastic ependymoma in 2011.

Major surgery resulted in loss of movement to his right side, impaired vision and severe short term memory loss.

But despite intense radiation and chemotherapy, he was determined to improve, staying true to his mantra “I will be awesome”.

The 18-year-old tragically died on April 13, 2014, after a 16-month battle.

Connor’s mother and Robert Connor Dawes Foundation chief executive Liz Dawes said fundraiser participants had been coming up with creative ways to clock their kilometres during lockdown instead of the 18.8km Hampton Beach to Alexandra Gardens track and the 9.6km

Catani Gardens St Kilda to Alexandra Gardens route — representing Connor’s birthday — June 9.

“We want to honour that 2020 is a year like no other. We want our awesome participants to

be creative – they can walk, rollerblade, bicycle, hike or swim,” Ms Dawes said.

The fundraiser is the biggest charity for paediatric brain cancer – the number

one cancer killer of young Australians — in the world, raising $4.6 million over the past seven years.

The event smashed its dollar target of $1.2 million for this year despite lockdown, with the number still climbing.