Organisers thrilled with inaugural Mother's Day Classic in Stawell

More than a shade of pink emerged from the dense and heavy fog that shrouded participants who took part in Stawell's inaugural Mother's Day Classic on Sunday.

Pictured dressed in pink for the Mother's Day Classic L-R Denika Morrow, Jacinta Smith, Marissa Ahchow and Sharna Cross.

Pictured dressed in pink for the Mother's Day Classic L-R Denika Morrow, Jacinta Smith, Marissa Ahchow and Sharna Cross.

It was a sense of community and shared motivation that ensured the event was a fun and meaningful way to spend Sunday morning.

Organisers were overwhelmed by the number of people that turned out to support the event, the first of its kind in Stawell.

Opened by Northern Grampians Shire Mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin with assistance from Cr Karen Hyslop, the 429 registered walkers, runners and strollers set off for the Ironbarks from North Park courtesy of the Swifts Football and Netball Club and the Amateur Athletics Club.

The Stawell initiated limited mobility walk added to the atmosphere of the day and as an indication of just how well received it was, the concept will be adopted by the parent body for future events.

"To see some of the less mobile people do the walk around the new running track was inspiring, including one 89-year-old who did seven laps," organiser Gary Middleton said.

"A minute silence held in honour of family, friends and those undergoing treatment was also a poignant reminder of the affect cancer has on us all."

Mr Middleton said residents who in previous years had made their way to Horsham and Ararat to walk, expressed how fortunate they felt to be able to do so in Stawell.

A significant number of participants donned pink wigs and costumes for the event, but support wasn't contained to Stawell.

Sally and Warren Melville from Hanoi, decked out in pink uniforms and walked alongside eight of their family and friends in support of the Stawell Mother's Day Classic. Sally is the daughter of Gary and Merrilyne Middleton.

Nationwide, more than 135,000 Australians, in a record 99 locations, took part in the event.

National Chair Louise Davidson said community support had allowed the Mother's Day Classic to have a lasting impact on breast cancer research.

"It gives me goose bumps each Mother's Day to look out into that sea of pink and to feel the camaraderie and support offered to event participants," she said.

"Every single person who joined in Sunday or who donated helped make Mother's Day memorable and meaningful."

On average, 40 Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer each day. Research has played a major part in breast cancer.

Five-year survival rates have increased to nearly 90 percent since the Mother's Day classic began.

The event is the biggest single donor to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), funding research projects into detection, prevention, treatment and ultimately finding a cure.

NBCF projects supported by Mother's Day Classic funding include research on improving chemotherapy effectiveness, developing new drugs to treat advanced breast cancer, preventing the spread of cancer to the bone and improving the physical wellbeing of surviours.

The Mother's Day Classic, which began in 1998, has donated $19.8 million to NBCF research (including a record $5 million in 2013).

Fundraising is open until May 16, with the 2014 total to be announced in mid June. Donations can still be made at www.mothersdayclassic.com.au/donate.

Results

Eight kilometres - 1st: Scott Carey, 2nd: Aaron Chavasse, 3rd: Kate Collins, 4th: Karl Scott.

Four kilometres - 1st: Raine Mackley, 2nd: Luke Matthews, 3rd: Seth Blake, 4th: Jacob Salmi.

Walk - 1st: Kate McKenzie, 2nd: Raelene Seary.

Raffle - 1st: Ken Dadswell, 2nd: Jodie Grainger, 3rd: Lee Ann Hamilton (Malmsbury), 4th: Bev Buckley (Murtoa), 5th: Janet Enright (Stawell).

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