Marathon effort to raise money for research

Marathon effort to raise money for research

Chris is making a marathon effort for kids' cancer research, after a late-night phone call turned his family's world upside down.

Heading out for an early morning training run in the dark isn’t how Brisbane-based Chris Bryant usually starts his day, but this year he is stretching himself in the name of running the Brisbane marathon to raise money to support kids’ cancer research through The Kids’ Cancer Project.

Chris has a very personal motivation for his marathon effort, after a late-night phone call in September 2020 turned the Bryant family’s world upside down. Their three-year-old daughter Annie had been diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia.

Now four, Chris’ daughter Annie spurs him on to complete his epic running and fundraising challenge. He has already soared past his original fundraising goal of $10,000 thanks to the support of friends, family and work mates. With a fan club behind him, led by Annie, Chris is determined to last the distance.

Chris Bryant: Running for a cure.

“The Kids' Cancer Project sent us a running jersey and a couple of capes and Annie’s been running around the house in her cape, and will be at the finish line, if I make it there!” says Chris.

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Annie was diagnosed on September 7, 2020, and is now six months into her treatment and responding well. While running a marathon wasn’t on Chris’ radar, he says knew he wanted to try and raise some money for the organisations that have helped Annie and his family in their fight.

“The late-night phone call that sent us straight into the Queensland Children’s Hospital was completely surreal and something I will never forget. A phone call that was devastating but brought us into the lives and attention of the amazing and brilliant people that are diagnosing, treating, caring and researching to fight childhood cancers,” says Chris.

“We're in quite a fortunate position at the moment because Annie is responding well to treatment. I realised that I should try and do something to thank the organisations that have really helped and because research is absolutely the key for someone with Annie’s condition. The treatment she has been able to have is essentially allowing her to live a normal life.”

Chris’ brother-in-law Chris Pickford is also lacing up his running shoes, as are many work colleagues who are behind his mission to raise money for vital research.

“We’ve had so much support; we’ve got an amazing network and people have really got behind us. When I said to Chris (Pickford) I wanted to run the marathon he said, ‘Yep, let’s do it, we’ve got 16 weeks to train. Let’s go’. A few people through work have also gotten on board, which is amazing.”

Chris says without the support of family and friends, as well as the tireless efforts of medical professionals and organisations focused on scientific research, such as The Kids’ Cancer Project, their recent experience would have been a much bleaker one.

“One of the first things we got at the hospital was one of The Kids’ Cancer Project teddy bears. Even when the hospital wasn't very accessible through the lockdown, the support was there and when your world gets turned upside down like that, it's amazing to have organisations like The Kids' Cancer Project there for you,” says Chris.

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The Kids’ Cancer Project knows that hospital can be a scary time for children. So, as well as supporting fundraisers like Chris to take on physical challenges, The Kids' Cancer Project also runs a Bear Program, which has brought countless cuddles to children in hospital through generous bear donations.

Find out more: The Kids’ Cancer Project Bear Program

If you’re inspired by Chris’ marathon effort, find out how you can get involved and support The Kids’ Cancer Project here.

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