Tom Rickerby knows the power of medical research all too well — he credits it with giving his 60-year-old mother, Penny, an extra year of life as she battled asbestos-related mesothelioma, which allowed her to meet her new granddaughter before her died.
“The research and trials funded by the center gave our mother an extra 12 months with us that we might not have had otherwise, and gave her a chance to meet our youngest daughter.”
The Craigie father-of-two will have Penny on his mind as he sets out tomorrow to hike the Cape to Cape Track in southwest Western Australia to raise vital funds for the National Center for Asbestos Related Diseases at the University of Western Australia, which his mother took participate in court proceedings.
He hopes to hike the entire trek from cape to cape along the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge between the Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste lighthouses before continuing past Bunker Bay and ending at Penny’s resting place in Eagle Bay. Mr. Rickerby plans to complete the 82-mile hike in four days and has already raised more than $15,000.
“The center is currently conducting groundbreaking research into asbestos-related diseases, particularly mesothelioma, as well as a number of clinical trials, like the ones the mother participated in,” Rickerby said.
“The research and studies funded by the center gave our mother an extra 12 months with us that we might not have had otherwise, and gave her the chance to meet our youngest daughter, Elsie.”
He said 50 years after living in the asbestos mining town of Wittenoom, Penny contracted mesothelioma and lost her brief battle just weeks after her 60th birthday last August.
“My initial goal was to raise $10,000 that would cover the costs of a mesothelioma patient, just like his mother, to participate in a new, world-first clinical trial to improve combined chemoimmunotherapy with non-invasive imaging,” he said.
“With the funds already raised from my incredible support network, it would be amazing to get close to the $20,000 mark with my hope that this research can one day help find a cure for this devastating disease so that other families can look forward to it.” around the world are affected. We do not have to suffer the loss that we have suffered.”
The Scientific Director of the National Center for Asbestos-Related Diseases, Professor Jenette Creaney, commended Mr Rickerby for his commitment to improving the lives of people affected by asbestos-related diseases.
“This is a fabulous community-driven fundraiser to support our research efforts as we work to fight this cancer on multiple fronts: chasing earlier and more accurate diagnoses; better treatments; and one day a vaccine against the disease,” said Professor Creaney.
Mr Rickerby, 33, who also has son Mitchell, four, with his wife Jess, said Penny has always been someone who gave to the community and he wants to do the same in her memory. To support the campaign, click here.