Sam’s fiancé Aria was diagnosed with stage 3 uterine cancer in 2018, at the age of 29. They were living where Sam is from in the UK at the time, so left their jobs and moved to Aria’s hometown of Perth, so she could have treatment with her friends and family for support. Thankfully, Aria is now fully recovered and healthy, but the experience had a lasting effect on her and her loved ones.
Aria’s sister found Save the Box back when she was first diagnosed, as in the moment of diagnosis it helped her feel like she could help somehow. This got Sam thinking, and when a half marathon came around in August this year, it was the obvious choice. An avid runner who’s done marathons in the past, he was finding it hard in the Perth heat, so chose to sign up and raise the money as a challenge to get back into running again.
Sam fundraised through creating a donation page on the Save the Box website and posting a link to it on his Facebook page and asking his team at work. He also ran a sweepstake on his finishing time, which Sam said was “a good way for people who didn’t want to donate much or didn’t have a personal connection to be involved.” Sam battled pouring rain and 40-50kph winds but can happily report that he ended up completing the marathon in 1 hour and 40 minutes, which is a new personal best!
“I find it really awkward asking people [for money] and sharing my partners story without thinking I am trying to guilt them. But starting conversations about women’s health is all part of it, so I’m glad I pushed past my awkwardness. Sadly, I was surprised by the number of people that reached out and said they know someone affected by gynae cancer,” says Sam.
After setting out with a modest goal of $200 and receiving half of that from one donation, he decided to aim for $1,000. Excitingly, Sam reached his goal, raising a total of $1,011! He wants his story to encourage others. “If you’re thinking about fundraising, go for it! Most people are supportive and happy to help,” says Sam. “Any little thing we can do to help people avoid what Aria went through and the legacy that has had on our lives is worth doing.”
If you are interested in doing something similar, to support someone you love, get in touch with the WomenCan team today via https://www.womencan.org.au/contact