On the 21st of May I will be running the Kangaroo Island marathon alongside 4 other runners under the banner of “Run 4 Kid’s Cancers''. My fundraising journey began in 2014 with a fellow junior footballer at my club named Jai. At the time I was young and unaware of the battles he was going through behind the scenes, all I knew was the smiling, energetic young kid who loved playing footy the same as I did. However, as time progressed Jai had a relapse of a rare form of childhood cancer known as Neuroblastoma. This limited Jai’s ability to play sport and do so many other things that as a young kid I took for granted. Jai’s tenacious spirit and bubbly personality won over the hearts of many members within the Flagstaff Hill Football Club community, none more so than my mum Natalie’s. Seeing what Jai and his family were experiencing ignited a fire within her that started her on a mission to spread awareness and raise funds to help find a cure for this terrible disease. This culminated in the “Gold Round'' which saw players from both sides wear gold armbands and a sweets and treats stall. The support received for this event was incredible, with none supporting more strongly than Jai who didn’t pity his own situation but instead channelled his endless enthusiasm and compassion into helping others with his disease. This was the start of an annual event at the Flagstaff Hill Football Club and the beginning of my fundraising journey.

Sadly Jai passed away on the 5th March 2015. Although I was immensely saddened at the time, I was still young and incapable of understanding the situation fully. As time progressed I saw how this impacted not only Jai’s family but my mum as well. I witnessed first hand how my mum transitioned from being an engineer into becoming a teacher and her desire to spread awareness and funds through running. It was clear that Jai’s passing had made it clear what was most important for her, her family and helping kids. The thought of losing more children to childhood cancers was unbearable which is why she set out on a fundraising journey that has seen her raise over $110,000 for various childhood cancer charities.

From then on, my mum and I along with countless others have run in various events including the City 2 Bay and Run 2 Cure in the hope of raising awareness. This culminated in completing my first ever marathon at the Great Ocean Road Running Festival in 2021, ticking off a major personal goal. I did not take this experience or any other for granted, knowing how many young children lose their lives to the terrible disease known as Neuroblastoma. Hence, this is why I am running in my second marathon on the 21st of May alongside my mum, in order to make the most of the opportunities I sometimes take for granted and to raise much needed awareness and funds for Neuroblastoma research.

If you would like to find out more information please don’t hesitate to follow our facebook page “Run 4 Kid’s Cancers'' and donate at our fundraising page listed below. Funds are essential in helping to find a cure and hence all donations are welcome, regardless of how big or small.

Jake Bunworth