School girl leads the way for Mater breast cancer research

09/Mar/2022     mater webpages

A 17-year-old school student who watched her mum battle breast cancer and a Brisbane businesswoman are raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research and services.

Following recent widespread flooding across South East Queensland, this year’s Mater Chicks in Pink RACQ International Women’s Day Fun Run was cancelled on March 6 with participants encouraged to map a course close to home to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer research and patient support.

All Hallows’ School Year 12 student Annie Murdoch is the highest fundraiser raising more than $25 000 in this event and her efforts are closely followed by Brisbane businesswoman Lorilie Cunningham, who has raised more than $16 000 after receiving the ‘shocking news’ in November last year that she had breast cancer at the age of 63.

Mater Foundation Executive Director Andrew Thomas said participants can join the Fun Run Your Way virtual event by walking or running 5km in their local neighbourhoods, if safe to do so.

 “We share the disappointment of the nearly 20 000 people who signed up to take part in this iconic annual event,” he said.

“However, our focus is on people’s safety. With clean up and recovery efforts promising to extend across the weekend, we’re unable to deliver the event in the city.

“People across regional Queensland complete the Fun Run by putting on their pink shirts and mapping a 5km course in their local area. This year, we are encouraging South East Queenslanders to do the same – where it is safe to do so.”

He said the Your Way event would be extended, allowing participants to complete their Fun Run anytime until Sunday 13 March.

 “We can still deliver on our promise to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research and support.”

With one in every four Queensland women diagnosed with breast cancer treated at a Mater hospital, the fun run has become an iconic event and raised more than $1.5 million last year for research and support services.

Ms Murdoch said she decided to take part after first-hand experience of the challenges that families go through when a loved one was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She said watching her mum go through chemotherapy was heartbreaking.

“I watched my mum Catherine battle the disease when I was in Year 3,” she said. “That experience stays with you.

“At the time, I was so young and didn’t have an awareness of what was really going on. Now I realise how difficult that was for her, and to keep the family running at the same time.”

For Mrs Cunningham, a regular breast screen appointment turned into a life-changing moment.

“I had zero symptoms so it was a massive shock to me,” she said.

“They found two tumours and a lot of diseased tissue. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer which accounts for only 15 per cent of all breast cancers.”

Mrs Cunningham had a mastectomy one week after her shock diagnosis and is currently having chemotherapy treatment at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital.

“It was a lot to take in at first, and this has really slowed me down,” she said.

Ms Murdoch said her family was also grateful for the support and care provided to her mum when she needed it most.

For more information on the Fun Run, visit Your Way at

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