22 Apr HBF Run for a Reason: Maddy’s on a mission to fulfil her promise
The bravest acts Maddy Clohessy has ever witnessed came courtesy of her hero, her fiance Ben McCracken.
As he fought desperately against brain cancer, suffered through nearly two years of chemotherapy and endured painful surgeries, each more risky than the last, he never complained.
He defied the odds to hang on to every extra day of the happy life they had together.
When Ben died in Maddy’s arms in December, at only 27 years old and despite a “fight that you truly had to witness to believe”, she made herself a promise: she would spend her whole life trying to prevent her story being someone else’s story.
Each year since Ben’s diagnosis in 2012, they had done the HBF Run for a Reason together.
One year, Ben was in remission and finished way ahead of her.
On another, he had relapsed and was in the middle of chemotherapy. He was supposed to be resting but his determination to raise money for research saw him over the line.
Ben hoped to raise $100,000 for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, founded by his hero and neurosurgeon Charlie Teo. He got to $75,000 before he died.
This year, 25-year-old Maddy will do the run for the first time on her own, to try to raise $25,000 to fulfil his wish.
It will be the hardest of runs “without my fiance, without my best friend, without half of my pair, without my reason”, she said.
But when her lungs burn or her legs ache, she will remember Ben’s courage and the funding needed to find ways to fight the cruel, unjust disease that took him from her.
“Ben was fit and healthy, intelligent, kind and brave,” Maddy said. “But brain cancer is indiscriminate. It strikes a person down in the prime of their life, usually with no warning signs and no risk factors.
“There are no effective treatments for brain cancer but Ben tried them all anyway, despite the terrible side effects and spending our life savings on clinical trials and other drugs not covered by the PBS system.
“Ben fought for every breath, just desperate for another minute of life.
“He never gave up and I promised that I wouldn’t either.”
Roger Hussey, chair of the WA Neuroscience Research Institute, will personally match every $1000 raised, up to a value of $5000, to encourage other donors and help Maddy reach her fundraising goal.