Cancer has touched the lives of so many people, including Queensland Rugby League staff member Linda Saunders, who has played a big part in helping combat the disease with her fundraising efforts.
The league and club coordinator for the Gold Coast raised more than $3000 for cancer research last month with her participation in the Cancer Council’s March Charge.
The Cancer Council March Charge was a fundraising event where participants set a distance target to reach via either running, walking, cycling or swimming, as well as a fundraising goal.
“I set mine at 300km running and set my fundraising target at $3000,” Saunders said.
The Queensland Maroons fan not only reached her running target of 300 kilometres, but also raised a whopping $3789, placing her as the 27th highest fundraiser out of a total of 11,141 people who participated.
As well as having a strong community mindset, Saunders also had personal reasons influencing her decision to take part in the fundraising event, as did her knowledge about the effect COVID-19 pandemic had on cancer research.
“My mum was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer late last year and I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer 10 years ago,” Saunders said.
“The reason I signed up to do it [Cancer Council March Charge], was because I didn’t realise that there were funding cuts to cancer research this year as a result of COVID-19.
“I was a little bit shocked when I heard they were cutting funding, so my mindset was that I can not only support my mum through her treatment, but I can help other families who are going to go down the same road we are.”
Saunders said she was overwhelmed by the amount of support she received during her journey, but not surprised.
“I think so many people are touched by it [cancer] in some way and I think straight away, people personalised the situation and supported the cause,” Saunders said.
“I’m surrounded by a lot of really good friends, and fortunately we all have social media, so I was able to spread the message using that, but I was really chuffed about the amount of people who were jumping on board.”
“The QRL and the staff there have also been a massive help, particularly (QRL HR Manager) Jane Shand, they shared it through the QRL news feed, and I was stoked with that.”
In order to reach her goal, Saunders had to run approximately 10km a day for the whole month of March, with her largest run being longer than 18km.
“I have a passion for and enjoy running, so I did the 300km in 24 days, starting on March 1 and finishing on March 28, with four rest days during that time,” Saunders said.
Once Saunders completed her journey and achieved her goal, she put a social media post up saying “we did it” as she wanted to recognise the amount of support she received.
People can still donate to Linda's March Charge via the website.