Fundraising for LIVESTRONG is one thing but to actually see the power of the LIVESTRONG message with your own eyes is another thing all together. Having lived in both the UK and Australia, I am amazed to see quite how far the LIVESTRONG message has spread while I am in Adelaide for the ?Tour Down Under?. All across Adelaide people are sporting not only LIVESTRONG wristbands, but LIVESTRONG t-shirts and cycling jerseys proving hugely popular. However, this was nothing compared to the influence LIVESTRONG was having in a brand new medical facility in Adelaide.
The ?Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer? is a cancer centre being built with a focus on cancer prevention and which will integrate research and patient care. Its significance to LIVESTRONG is that it will contain the ?LIVESTRONG Cancer Research Centre?, the first of its kind in Australia. It was incredible to see the construction of the building going on and undoubtedly the centre will provide invaluable care when it is opened later on this year. I was lucky enough to join Chris Brewer in visiting the center and to hear both the premier of South Australia Mike Rann and Lance Armstrong talk about the centre and the incredible facilities it will provide. As a international fundraiser for LIVESTRONG, it was awesome to be able to see the ways in which the charity is able to contribute to areas as far away as Adelaide Australia and still keep the core LIVESTRONG message. As Lance stressed, LIVESTRONG will only be able to see itself as truly successful when people no longer have to deal with this terrible disease but this centre and the commitment of those involved will provide groundbreaking help in the international battle to do so.
What I love about LIVESTRONG and being able to travel and meet other fundraisers or advocates is hearing their own stories about how they got involved or their own experiences with cancer. During my visit to the centre I was able to hear the inspirational stories behind individuals such as Ashleigh Moore who advocates for ?CancerVoicesSA? and is a huge supporter of LIVESTRONG. I heard stories such as Ashleigh?s who after being diagnosed in 2005 with both head and neck cancer successfully fought the disease, only to be re-diagnosed last year with lung cancer. Along with a young patient Jessica, currently in the hospital and whose own brother was being tested to see if his bones were a match for his sister?s, who needed them for a bone marrow transplant. These incredible people truly embody the spirit behind LIVESTRONG and their commitment to live a life of significance through advocacy and devotion to fighting the disease. Hearing such stories is one of the great pleasures of fundraising for LIVESTRONG and realizing the power of the LIVESTRONG message through examples such as Lance?s and Ashleigh?s, to allow people to transcend their own suffering and invest themselves in their both local and global communities, is something that is at the core of LIVESTRONG as a charity and that further motivates fundraisers such as myself to get involved in any way possible and to embrace life to the fullest every single day. I truly believe in the importance of living our lives as inspirations to each other and in taking action for ourselves and for our communities. Being fortunate enough to meet such determined individuals all around the world has shown me that LIVESTRONG has created a global army of supporters that have a power and resilience that cancer, as hard as it may try, will never be able to defeat.