Preparing for a week-long trek through the beautiful Leeuwin Naturaliste Park in Western Australia for a week is probably not the average coping mechanism when you lose a son. But for John Paduano, signing up to the Gutsy Cape to Cape Challenge has been a vital tool in his grieving and healing process.
“Alex was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 and after two and a half years of exceptional care under Dr Lorraine Chantrill, Chair of the GI Cancer Institute, he was unfortunately taken from us far too soon,” says John.
“If Alex had have been under another doctor’s care, we would never have been introduced to the GI Cancer Institute, and we would never have learnt about the importance of funding for new clinical trials in improving treatment options and outcomes,” says John.
That’s a large part of the reason John undertook the Gutsy Cape to Cape Challenge in September 2019.
“Although we lost Alex, that doesn’t mean that we need to stop supporting the critical research the GI Cancer Institute are doing.”
Since 2015, the GI Cancer Institute has been raising funds for their Innovation Fund grant through the Gutsy Challenge. This is not only a great physical challenge for the trekkers, but also an important source of funding for critical research to improve treatments for GI cancer.
GI Cancer is the most common form of cancer with around 38 Australians dying each day, so knowing that all funds raised will support research for new treatment options is proving to be a very positive experience for John and his family. “This continues to be an incredibly healing opportunity and offers me the chance to connect with other like-minded people from different walks of life, Says John. “How many people can say that they get to work through their grief by contributing to research?”
If you’re interested in signing up for a Gutsy Challenge in 2021 – click here.