ELLIE Beaston finds it hard to put into words what it means to have the Loreto student body run to honour her close friend.
Ms Beaston helped transform her school’s annual lap of the lake into Run 4EK, raising money and awareness for meningococcal research. The run marked one year since much-loved Loreto graduate Emma-Kate McGrath lost her short battle with meningococcal septicaemia W strain.
Students combined efforts in a bake sale, walk-a-thon and in selling more than 800 4EK ribbons to raise more than $2300 to donate to Meningitis Australia. Emma-Kate’s mum Abby joined in the run.
Ms Beaston said this personally was a special cause but she was humbled with the generosity of the Loreto community in giving extra to the cause.
“Emma-Kate fully completed the lap of the lake (running) for the first time in year 12,” Ms Beaston said. “I could not get over the response for this event, it has been so overwhelming...This affected so many people.”
Emma-Kate McGrath was 19 years old, in her first year of nursing/paramedic studies at university, when she died of the bacterial disease.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced in February the vaccine against the A, C, W and Y strains of the disease would be added to the National Immunisation Program for infants. The state government has expanded its program against ACWY strains to year 10s until December 31.
It comes after a rise in meningococcal related deaths, with 28 in 2017, up from 11 deaths in 2016. Meningococcal W strain is the most predominantly reported in Victoria. Young people aged 15-19 are more likely to spread the disease to others.
Ms Beaston is already planning more ways to keep raising awareness. More: 4EK on Facebook.