Light the way: Lighthouse walk to raise funds to fight cancer

January 7, 2021 BY

Professor George Kannourakis, Cr Libby Stapleton and Janet Jones get some practice in ahead of the Lighthouse Classic. Photo: PETER MARSHALL

A NEW fundraiser is urging people to put their lockdown fitness to the test this month to help aid efforts to fight cancer.

Anglesea resident Janet Jones is encouraging everyone to put their runners on for the Lighthouse Classic, which will support the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute.

Ms Jones established the fundraiser to shed new light on what causes cancer and how it can be treated more effectively.

She has faced three separate battles with cancer over three decades and is passionate about identifying causes for cancer and why some human cells become cancerous.

“I’ve managed to conquer two different cancers on two different occasions and will fight it again a third time,” she said.

“But the Lighthouse Classic is not just about my cancer, it’s about trying to raise funds so we can find out why people get cancer, how we can stop it and how we can improve the treatment.

“We tend to think that cancer is either hereditary or the result of an unhealthy lifestyle but in my situation – and for so many others – that’s not the case at all.

“The Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute is doing some fantastic work to help identify causes for cancer, effective treatments and why some cells become cancerous.”

Professor George Kannourakis is leading the research at the institute. Professor Kannourakis has been Ms Jones’ oncologist for more than 30 years, and she was closely involved in the fundraising efforts to establish the Ballarat-based institute – Australia’s only regionally based cancer research centre – in the early 1990s.

He said the research at the institute focused on the role of the immune system when it comes to cancer.

“It is suggested that defects in the immune system may predispose some people to cancer, or allow it to progress, and that treatments that enhance immunity may improve outcomes in patients with cancer.”

For the Lighthouse Classic, the pair plan to complete a 12km journey by starting at Urquhart Bluff, touching the Aireys Inlet lighthouse and returning.

“The idea of the Lighthouse Classic is to touch a lighthouse in honour of someone who has been touched by cancer but if you’re not near a lighthouse, you’re still helping to shed light on cancer by taking part,” Ms Jones said.

Surf Coast Shire mayor Libby Stapleton has also thrown her support behind the event.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, people can complete a shorter distance if they prefer at any time this month.

Registration is $40 for adults and includes a cap, which can be picked up in Aireys Inlet or posted.

For more information or to sign up for the Lighthouse Classic, head to fecri.org.au or the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute page on Facebook.

Participants can also share their achievement on Instagram using the hashtag #lighthouseclassic21

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