Move your way to support life-saving cancer research with ACRF’s Fit40 in Feb challenge

Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) is encouraging Aussies to take on the inaugural Fit40 in Feb challenge – exercising for 40 minutes each day in February to raise vital funds for cancer research.

By tackling Fit40 in Feb and registering a team with friends, family or colleagues, you can help ACRF back brilliance in its mission to reach a world without cancer.

Each individual or team will have an online donation page, making it easy for them to share their progress throughout the challenge.

There’s a plethora of ways for challengers to reach the magical 40-minute milestone each day, whether it’s running, walking, swimming, cycling, dancing or lifting weights – as long as you’re moving!

Not only does Fit40 in Feb support pioneering cancer research, it promotes healthy habits that could stop participants from developing the dreaded disease.

Collectively adopting a cancer-smart lifestyle, including exercise and a balanced diet, could result in one in three cancer cases being prevented and the number of cancer deaths dropping significantly.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate, however, regardless of age or fitness – underlining the need for ACRF to continue funding groundbreaking research.

Ashleigh Mills is living proof that anyone can be affected by cancer. She was just 25 and in the prime of her life when she received a thyroid cancer diagnosis in June 2015.

At the time, Ashleigh had just graduated university, started her first full-time role as a lawyer and moved out of home. “Everything seemed to be going according to plan,” she said. It was during a weekend away with friends that Ashleigh’s world changed.

After complaining of a “strange sensation” in her throat – something she often experienced, but doctors had dismissed as an anxiety symptom – Ashleigh’s friend noticed a lump on her neck.

Ashleigh didn’t think much of it, but was convinced to go to a GP to get it checked at her friend’s insistence. Just a week later, she was floored upon being told she had thyroid cancer.

“For someone who had always planned their day down to the ninth degree, my diagnosis came as a confronting reminder that no one can ever really know what is around the corner for them,” Ashleigh said.

“My diagnosis came at a time where everything in my life seemed to have finally clicked into the place that I had carved out for it. What I hadn’t planned for was processing a cancer diagnosis at 25 …”

“There are many things you can’t control about a cancer diagnosis. But what you can control is the way you respond to it. And I responded to it by backing science.”

Following her diagnosis, Ashleigh underwent a total thyroidectomy. She then had radioactive iodine treatment, thyrogen injections, whole body scans and took daily medication.

While she continues to have hormone replacement therapy, today Ashleigh doesn’t require active cancer treatment – something she attributes to research being backed by the likes of ACRF.

“The survival rates for many types of cancer, including thyroid cancer, have increased by more than 20% over the past 30 years. That’s an encouraging statistic – but it is also a fact,” she said.

Kerry Strydom, CEO of Australian Cancer Research Foundation said Fit40 in Feb is an exciting new fundraising initiative for Australians to get involved with, together we can unite as a community, raise vital funds that bring us closer to a world without cancer.

“Cancer research breakthroughs are now happening at a faster rate than ever before as scientific advancements are allowing our researchers to see, analyse and monitor patterns in cells and patients that were simply not possible only a few years ago.

“When you donate to ACRF, you help give Australian cancer researchers access to the advanced technology, equipment and infrastructure they need to find better methods of prevention, detection and treatment for all types of cancer.”

Join the Fit 40 in Feb campaign and do your bit to cultivate a cancer-smart lifestyle, while contributing funds to the biggest and brightest minds and the next breakthrough that is within their reach. Participants can register or donate to Fit40 in Feb here.