The Mackay Marina Run has dedicated its support to the Leukaemia Foundation and their goal of zero lives lost to blood cancer in 2035.

The Leukaemia Foundation invites participants of the BMA Mackay Marina Run to join Team Beat Blood Cancer and dedicate their run to help raise funds for people living with blood cancer.

Recent health data has identified that every day, more than 50 Australians will be diagnosed with a type of blood cancer in 2022, an increase from 47 people each day in 2020. The Leukaemia Foundation’s crucial fight for people with blood cancer continues each year, supporting everyday Australians and their families tackle this dangerous reality.

Blood cancers combined are Australia’s second most diagnosed cancer and sadly, the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths, which is more than breast cancer and melanoma combined.

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the people in the Mackay region, in the 2020-2021 financial year, the Leukaemia Foundation has directly supported 110 local families affected by blood cancer. This included providing 1430 nights of accommodation for people receiving treatment and just shy of 200 interactions of information and support services through the Leukaemia Foundation Blood Cancer Support Coordinators.

Thank you again for your generosity, and most of all your passion and commitment to our shared goal of zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035. We’re very pleased that you’re sharing this journey with us.

To raise lifesaving funds set up your own fundraising page or donate via our page below.

Mackay Marina Run Ambassadors: Amanda Chetcuti Madsen and Luke Chetcuti’s story

It may come as a bit of a surprise, but the best day of my life thus far would have to be my sister’s wedding day. The day and the event alone were memorable and remarkable by itself. But the elephant in the room which I wanted to ignore was about how impossible this day really was. I’m not suggesting that my sister Amanda is unlovable and obnoxious, but the mere fact she lived to find such a strong and significant love to fill her life was the most distant and fanciful dream we couldn’t imagine becoming reality. 

At the age of 14, Amanda had what most of us enjoyed. As a bright, energetic, creative and in many other ways – a typical teenager, she had little concern or dramas outside of school assignments and choosing a career path. From memory, I believe she aspired to be involved with animals. 

But animals, assignments, school, boys and every other aspect of her teenage life were put on hold indefinitely after her diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Leukaemia, a condition we’ve all heard about, but none of our family had any knowledge of it at all. Amanda was transferred to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Herston, with myself, mum and dad accompanying her. We all put our life on pause and made adjustments to prepare for an emotionally, physically, financially and geographically challenging future. 

Amanda Chetcuti Madsen and Luke Chetcuti

After a while, Amanda, mum and dad moved into the Leukaemia Foundation’s ‘Mincom Village’ in Herston; I had returned to Mackay to continue my schooling. The village provided them with extra comforts, privacy and conveniences that places like Ronald McDonald House simply are unable to cater to on a long-term scale. They were excellent for us in our time of need. The village meant living arrangements much the same as an apartment. No shared kitchens, dining or play areas, but rather your own unit to call your own. 

Life at Mincom Village was made easier with neighbours who were also going through their own Leukaemia experience. As with any new people, initial greetings, passing waves hello, turn into a bit of chit chat here and there, afternoon drinks and eventually bonds for a lifetime of friendship are formed. But even the staff who run the village become as close as family before long. There were plenty of social events and BBQ’s, I remember a Melbourne Cup Luncheon. They’d host craft sessions and had a library of games, books and DVDs to loan. This was well before the age of streaming and even social media. Perhaps the best part, was the courtesy car. Whilst the car was primarily on hand for transit to/from appointments at the hospital, it could also be loaned. Drives out to the countryside became an anticipated escape, and much needed therapy for Amanda and other family members. A fleeting moment away from IV drips and beeping machines, away from hourly obs, away from clinics and sterile medical environments washed in fluorescent light, away from the harsh reality of our life…. If only for a few hours at a time. 

Dad perhaps got the most benefit from the courtesy car. A sense of purpose and community spirit. Dad was all too happy to drive others to and from the hospital. He would take their calls and pick them up and chauffeur them back home. This allowed the support staff to continue their duties uninterrupted. 

Amanda Chetcuti Madsen and Luke Chetcuti

A long time has passed since we have needed such services. I’m unsure how our lives would be if we never had them. There’s no telling if our family would still be together if we had to find our own place to live for the short term (which was actually rather long) and had to keep it together without the support from new friends going through similar experiences, or the support staff. I’ll forever be grateful for the Leukaemia Foundation. Not only for their boundless support in the most critical time for my family, and the hundreds of other families they’ve also supported directly, but also for the behind the scenes work and funding and research to improve treatments.  

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Run, contact us today.