Ben Donohoe Fun Run, Capital Region Cancer Centre
24 November 2011
Ben Donohoe was a sports-loving, caring and intelligent nine-year-old boy who lived with his parents, Robyn and Peter, and siblings, Luke, Lauren and Kate. An active boy who particularly loved cricket and soccer, he played every sport. He also loved his music and would sing and dance around his bedroom to the sounds of Shrek, Robbie Williams and Shannon Noll. Ben attended Latham Primary School and was in year 4 when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour on 10 June 2005. When he became sick, his mother Robyn would often ask him if there was anything she could get for him and Ben would simply say, ‘Just a cuddle.’ That is a testament to his caring nature. Despite an operation to remove the tumour and despite Ben’s determination, the tumour was too aggressive. Ben passed away on 2 August 2005, less than eight weeks after being diagnosed.
Now in its seventh year, the Ben Donohoe Run and Walk for Fun has raised over $220,000 for the ACT Eden Monaro Cancer Support Group, Make-A-Wish Australia and Brain Tumour Australia. This has greatly helped in supporting families affected by cancer and bringing hope and joy to the lives of seriously ill children. The Ben Donohoe Run and Walk for Fun is now one of the largest fun runs in the region. On 6 November, a team from my office ran the six-kilometre circuit around Lake Ginninderra with almost 2½ thousand others who helped raise over $65,000.
Cancer patients in the ACT and surrounding region will also benefit from a new Capital Region Cancer Centre. When completed in late 2013, the new centre will improve cancer treatment by drawing together and integrating cancer services including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, haematology, immunology, research and teaching programs, within a single five-storey building on the Canberra Hospital campus. The Capital Region Cancer Centre is part of a $2 billion Australian government initiative to build a world-class cancer care system. It was my pleasure on 2 November to be part of a sod-turning with the Minister for Health and Ageing; Katy Gallagher, the Chief Minister of the ACT; the member for Canberra and Senator Lundy. The Capital Region Cancer Centre will service around half a million people across the ACT and surrounding regions by providing access to screening, assessment, diagnostic treatment and palliative care services.
I would like to thank the organisers of the Ben Donohoe run, and members of the ‘Leigh team’, who wore T-shirts emblazoned with my name and joined me on the day—Damien Hickman, Gus Little, Claire Daly, Jules Zanetti, Angela Winkle, Karina Leys, Jess Woodall, Alex Cubis and Eleanor Cubis. Next year’s Run and Walk for Fun will be on Sunday, 4 November 2012. I look forward to doing another lap of the lake and encourage all Canberrans to take part.