Someone referred to me as a ‘fighter’ recently and I found myself perplexed. I am not a fighter.
My father, Frank McInerny, lost his fight with prostate cancer two months ago, a week shy of Christmas and my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary. I watched him face his mortality with a courage, bravery and strength of character that only a big personality like his could handle. He left this world with love in his heart and a smile on his face.
When dad was initially diagnosed, the cancer had already spread to his bones and lymph nodes. Both my dad and I were nurses and sadly this meant we fully understood that it was just a matter of time until the inevitable happened. Dad battled his disease with determination, and with incredible support from his medical team and revolutionary new treatments his one year sentence was extended to give him more time.
Losing someone you love to cancer impacts you in a way you can never imagine. It changes your life. It makes you appreciate the precious moments you have with your family. Those moments that seem so insignificant at the time become the focus of your happiness and content.
Dad’s courage of conviction paid off, he got to be there for the birth of his grandchildren, holidays with my mum, seeing my sister and I graduate from University, and watch my brothers purchase their first homes. He would have missed these milestone events if it wasn’t for the extra time he was afforded, care of the prostate cancer research and, of course, his courageous willpower.
Throughout dad’s cancer experience he contributed his every being to supporting prostate cancer research. He participated in any way he could to help others. It is for this reason I have decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’s SAVE A MAN Kilimanjaro Challenge in October 2014. I want to continue his legacy.
Dad endured a gruelling physical challenge and showed unwavering courage, determination and strength. Climbing to the peak, nearly 6 kilometres above sea level will test these very same qualities in me and will raise money and awareness for a disease that claims close to 3,300 men every year.
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia dedicates its time to reducing the impact of prostate cancer in Australian men, their families and the wider community. This will mark the first time I will take on such a physically demanding challenge for charity and the first time Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia will have embarked on an international fundraising campaign.
The fundraising efforts from the Save a Man Kilimanjaro Challenge 2014 will help this organisation keep funding world class research, implement awareness campaign across the country, continue educating us all about this insidious disease and most importantly, provide support to affected men and their families.
I have witnessed the true ‘fighter’ first-hand. I have witnessed a great man fight for his family, time and his life. I am determined to do all I can to end this fight.
I am committed to not just saving a man, but saving every man.
By Kate McInerny
To show your support to Kate and make a donation to help reach her fundraising target visit www.saveamankilimanjarochallenge.everydayhero.com/au/kate
If you too want to Save a Man and join Kate in the Save a Man Kilimanjaro Challenge visit www.inspiredadventures.com.au/PCFA/Kilimanjaro2014/ for more information and to register your details.