EVERY day in her work, Keryn Williamson can see firsthand the difference her walking mission can help make.
Keryn is preparing to tackle a half-marathon distance at night in Melbourne in less than a fortnight's time to help Australians directly impacted by cancer. Each step of the way, 21.1 kilometres, Keryn will make in tribute to her family members' cancer journeys, including both her parents who are bowel cancer survivors, an aunt who died with lung cancer this year and extended relations.
But Keryn also walks for her patients.
Keryn is a clinical nurse specialist in Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre's radiation oncology department. She has worked in chemotherapy and radiation therapy with cancer patients for 18 years.
Cancer Council Victoria is pivotal in helping Keryn do her job. All money raised in the Walking Stars event will boost the organisation's cancer research, prevention programs and patient support.
WATCH: What is Walking Stars all about?
"One of the first things we give patients is the Cancer Council's What is Radiotherapy pamphlets - and that goes across all tumour streams," Keryn said.
"There can be a lot for patients to take in, but if they can take some information away it helps.
"A lot of cancers don't have specialist nurses, like breast and prostate cancer patients do, but Cancer Council has support for all cancers and there is a hotline you can call for advice. Some people feel their doctor is too busy but, while the hotline doesn't have specifics to patients, they can help reassure or have an idea when a doctor is needed."
Every day, 95 Victorians will hear the words "you have cancer" and every day 30 Victorians die with cancer. The five most common cancers in Victoria are prostate, breast, bowel, melanoma and lung.
Keryn and her sister will join walkers setting out from Alexandra Gardens after sunset on December 7. The course will weave past Melbourne's lit-up landmarks, like the tennis centre and MCG.
Training for Keryn has been part of her early morning gym work-outs, mixed in with walks near White Swan Reservoir.
The walk takes the average participant four to five hours to complete but Keryn hopes mostly to help make a statement.
"We'll dress up and have glow stuff on," Keryn said. "If people don't know what the event is when they see us, it's a chance to raise awareness."
You can support Keryn Williamson's efforts directly here.
For more details on Walking Stars, click here.
Cancer Victoria's cancer nurse support line is 13 11 20 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm).
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