GAIL Elsey was blown away, not by the strong winds at Lake Wendouree, but by the continued support shown by Ballarat students for her late daughter, Fiona, and her passion for cancer research.
Almost 2000 high school students and primary school pupils arrived at the lake for the annual Fiona’s Walk yesterday, with the aim of raising awareness of cancer and promoting cancer research.
Fiona, who was just 13, passed away from the rare bone cancer Ewing’s Sarcoma in 1992 but had asked her oncologist Dr George Kannourakis to set up a Ballarat research centre based on the Leukaemia Auxiliary Royal Children’s Hospital cancer research unit.
It was last year named the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute.
Organised by Ballarat High School VCAL students each year, the walk continues to attract thousands of participants.
“It’s amazing to see so many young people come out every year not because they have to, but because they actually want to,” Ms Elsey said.
“Young people can make a difference.Something like this absolutely gives them the chance to do that.”
The walk is in its seventh year, and Ms Elsey said it gave her great pride to see the walk growing each year.