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Why supporting brain cancer research is a cause close to our hearts at hockingstuart

Connor’s Run is Australia’s largest fundraising event for paediatric brain cancer and has been raising millions of dollars since its first run in 2013. It’s a cause that’s close to our heart here at hockingstuart, and as such we’re extremely proud to be a sponsor of this year’s event, held on 16th September 2018 along Melbourne’s foreshore. 

“We first came across the charity last year when our Albert Park office decided to get involved in the race,” says Simon Jovanovic, hockingstuart’s CEO. “The founder of the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation, Connor’s mum Liz Dawes, came down to the Albert Park office and talked to the team about Connor’s fight against brain cancer.

“We were so touched by her story that the entire hockingstuart network decided to get behind the cause and support Australian families who are affected by the disease.”

This year, Liz’s story inspired 205 hockingstuart team members to put on their runners and participate in Connor’s Run 2018, raising over $94,000 for the worthy cause thanks to the generosity of our customers, staff, family and friends. This figure is almost double our original goal of $50,000 and more than three times the amount raised in 2017.

One of this year’s Connor’s Run participants was hockingstuart Albert Park’s Loic Mamet, who recalls Liz’s first visit to the office and the impact her words had on the team: “It really touched our hearts hearing that it all started as a legacy for her son Connor,” he said.

“At hockingstuart we’re involved with our local communities all day, every day – the community is what keeps us alive, so it’s great to be able to help the Robert Connor Dawes foundation and give back in some way.”

We were honoured to speak with Liz after this year’s fun run, who was extremely pleased with the efforts of all participants and the lengths they went to making a difference.

“From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone at hockingstuart for their incredible effort and enthusiasm on the day,” Liz said. “Paediatric brain cancer is the number one cancer killer for young Australians and with your support, we can change those odds.”

About Connor’s Run

In total, Connor’s Run raised over $1 million, an incredible result which will go directly towards Australia’s first DNA Tissue Testing Centre at Monash’s Children’s Cancer Centre.

In November 2011, Robert Connor Dawes was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was only 17 years old at the time and in the midst of training for the upcoming rowing season in Melbourne. Major surgery resulted in a loss of movement to his right side, impaired vision and severe short-term memory loss. He completed intense radiation and chemotherapy, but the disease was malicious and after 16 months of fighting, Connor lost his battle with ependymoma.

This heartbreak is what motivated his mum, Liz Dawes, to create Connor’s Run and The Robert Connor Dawes Foundation, which helps support fundraising efforts that beat the disease. 

“We were determined to do everything in our power to ensure no family ever had to experience the heartache we did,” says Liz.

“But this event is about more than just raising money, it’s about celebrating Connor’s life and the courage he mustered in the face of adversity. There was live music and entertainment along the course and a fantastic after party along the Yarra – it was truly a great atmosphere. I know Connor would have loved it.”

Connor’s Run has now completed its sixth event. Participants run 18.8km from Sandringham to the boatsheds on the Yarra, and have raised more than $3.2 million since the fun run’s inception.

The hockingstuart team are already looking to see how they can top this year’s extraordinary fundraising effort, with the next event taking place on Sunday 15th September 2019.

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