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Counting down

HIS life has already been upended in the past 12 months, but Craig Tanner is about to embark on yet another challenge of monumental proportions.
The Toora man will this Saturday, October 14, start his 2000km walk from Tugun in Queensland to his home town to raise money and awareness for pediatric brain cancer research and Ronald McDonald House Parkville in Melbourne.
Both causes are dear to him.
His 11 year old son Aaron has only been home for three weeks after spending the better part of the past year in hospitals for treatment for Medulloblastoma, a brain cancer he was diagnosed with in September 2016.
Craig, wife Hannah and other children Seth, Isaac and Eli, have faced the risk of losing Aaron four times as he underwent neurosurgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Aaron has now been declared free of the disease but faces a lifetime of wondering if the cancer will return.
The Tanner family temporarily uprooted from their Toora home to live at Ronald McDonald House Parkville while Aaron received treatment at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Now they’re repaying the favour and aiming to give brain cancer sufferers a better chance of life by aiming to raise a total of $250,000 for the two causes.
“It’s not just because of what Aaron went through, but a lot of kids did not come through it,” Craig said.
“It’s about the kids and it’s about the families who go to Ronald McDonald House. We went from a four bedroom home to having the whole family in one room.”
During the Tanners’ stay, a five year old boy died after radiation failed to stop his cancer spreading. He was given two to three months to live. He got just two weeks.
“It’s just devastating to watch that happen,” Hannah said.
Ronald McDonald Houses not only provide accommodation for families of cancer patients. The Tanners also met families of children with Meningococcal disease, facing heart transplants and undergoing major bone surgery.
They are hoping the funds they raise will go towards more isolation rooms on ground floors at the house or at least a lift to reach the isolation room on the upper level at Parkville.
“We nearly lost our boy four times. They said we’ve got a 50:50 chance. They have seen children come in and they have seen them die,” Craig said of the hospital staff.
“My walk is going to be a way of finding who I am again and processing, because I have not had time to process.”
In training for his epic walk, Craig has given up alcohol and improved his diet, losing 20kg along the way. He has reduced his daily puff of cigarettes and plans to give up smoking while on the walk.
“I am just an average Joe Blow who has come off the street with no training and no idea of what the heck I’m getting myself into and I’m just going to walk,” he said.
Along the way, Craig will be completing dares posed by family and friends, attending fundraisers and talking at schools.
He will also visit Lions clubs throughout New South Wales and collect banners to pass on to the Toora Lions Club.
Aaron’s proud of his father.
“Some people might think dad could not do it but it’s not true because you never know what he can do,” Aaron said.
Hannah added, “We’re all super proud of him.”
Craig will walk via the east coast of New South Wales, across East Gippsland and head into Melbourne, before returning to South Gippsland.
He is due to arrive in Toora on December 16, after walking the final 10km from Foster.
• To follow Craig’s walk, go to: https://www.facebook.com/CraigsKsForCancer/
• To donate, go to: http://rmhparkville.org.au/event/craigsksforcancer

Go Dad: Aaron Tanner is back home in Toora after exhaustive treatment for brain cancer, just in time to wish his father Craig Tanner all the best for his 2000km walk from Tugun, Queensland, to Toora to raise money and awareness for pediatric brain cancer research and Ronald McDonald House Parkville.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=22821

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