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Sunday 27 November, 2016 marked the fifth annual Beach Walk for Brain Cancer – a fundraising initiative set up by Wenona alumna Rebecca (Bec) Lucas (2009) following the loss of her father to brain cancer.
The money raised goes to the Tony Lucas Research Grant, which Bec set up under the Cure Brain Cancer foundation in hope of carrying on her father’s legacy. “My personality is very similar to my dad’s,” she says. “We both have a desire to help and a passion to do more.”
In 2011, she went to the Cure Brain Cancer board with a proposal to continue fundraising. She decided to dedicate that money specifically to a research grant. “My father was very involved with the Cure Brain Cancer foundation,” Bec says. “He passionately believed in the fundraising part of it.”
Bec’s first fundraising walk was a huge success. While her goal was to have 200 participants and raise $20,000, more than 1,000 people joined on the day and collectively raised over $80,000.
Two years later, Bec presented a cheque for research into brain cancer to the then Federal Health Ministers in Canberra. That year, she received the Young Citizen of the Year (Manly) award, and the NSW Premier Women of the Year award for her fundraising work.
“I’ve learnt that everyone deals with grief and adversity differently. For me, it was about channelling energy into something that meant something to me, and helped me stay connected to dad and the network of people around him.” Her sister younger Sabrina continued the tradition of promoting the walk and cause while she was at Wenona.
Bec is now a youth ambassador for the Cure Brain Cancer foundation. Her major fundraiser, Beach Walk for Brain Cancer, has grown from raising $80,000 to now being one of over 30 walks, which collectively raise $1.3 million each November.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the support from the school and the community,” Bec says. “I was always involved in the service learning at school. It was not only the skills and knowledge but the networks and connections that inspired me as to how I could really impact the greater community.”