Running, cycling and swimming gruelling distances comes naturally for Paddington resident Brian Williams and so does raising money for cancer research—a cause close to his heart.
The 44-year-old former AFL player will compete in his seventh Noosa Triathlon on 3 November and he will represent the Smiling for Smiddy team as he embarks on a 1500 m swim, 40 km cycle and a 10 km run all in the name of cancer research at Mater.
Brian’s weekly training regime includes a 50 km run, 200 km cycle and 6 km swim and if that wasn’t enough, Brian has found the time to fundraise on a large scale.
“I joined the Smiling for Smiddy team for Noosa in 2010 when it became a charity partner of the event and the $12 000 I have raised this year will bring my total to $40 000,” Brian said.
The loss of his father and two uncles to prostate cancer inspired him to use his love of triathlons to fundraise and help Mater Research with its cancer research programs.
“My father died at 64 and this is just too young. I felt it was important to not just do something that I love but at the same time help fight a disease that affects us all,” Brian said. He has even recruited a group of close friends to take up the triathlon and fundraising challenge and Brian said it had started to get very competitive.
“There is strong competition between us and the sledging has heated up. We have ‘The Don’ Shield in honour of my father and this will go to whoever makes the best time out of our group,” he said.
“We all agree that I have the fundraising challenge in the bag.” Brian said it was an easy decision to support Smiling for Smiddy to know that the money was going to improving cancer treatments and raising awareness of prostate cancer.
“Education is very important. I want people to know the facts in particular about prostate cancer; that if they get it checked regularly, cancer can be prevented,” Brian said.
“More money needs to go into researching different treatments for prostate cancer. Great work has been done using robotics in surgery and I know that there is more to come to reduce the side-effects of the disease.
“I know that government funding is limited in the research space and I’m passionate to see the great work at Mater Research continue,” he said. Smiling for Smiddy is an annual program of cycling and triathlon challenge events which supports world-class research projects at Mater Research, including melanoma, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers, as well as complementary therapies to improve quality of life for cancer patients.
Last year Smiling for Smiddy grew to include 10 events, raising more than $720 000 and bringing the total funds raised to more than $4 million since the program’s inception. Mater Foundation Executive Director Nigel Harris said the money raised by Smiling for Smiddy events helped thousands of Australians who had been touched by cancer.
“Thanks to vital funds raised by Smiling for Smiddy, scientists at Mater Research are one step closer to developing new therapies to help fight the disease,” he said. To support Brian visit www.smiddyfundraising.com.au.