Meet Sean Stuart, Rory Cheal, Max Cutrone and Jasper Gotterson. They’re four best mates who’ve just completed an incredible running adventure in the United States to raise funds for life-saving cancer research.
On 18 February 2023, they set out to complete 80 marathons in 80 days, taking them all the way through 13 states from Florida to the Canadian border. They did so well, they finished on day 79 on 8 May!
The boys took on this mammoth task because tackling cancer is a cause that’s very dear to their hearts, as both Rory and Max’s families have been affected by cancer.
When you have a cause greater than yourself, anything is possible
In 2015, Rory’s mum, Amanda, was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer that was secondary to liver, lungs and stomach. Fortunately, Amanda found out just in time, but this was only the beginning of her cancer journey.
For months, Amanda endured rigorous treatment for her aggressive liver cancer. Despite the odds, Amanda survived the “life or death” surgery.
After numerous surgeries, Amanda was re-diagnosed multiple times with more cancers. But thankfully, Amanda is now in remission and cancer free.
“I vividly remember what I thought were my final goodbyes as mum went into surgery. It’s an image I will never forget.” says Rory.
How life-saving cancer research brings hope
Like Rory, Max has also been closely affected by cancer with both of his Aunties being diagnosed. In 2011, Max’s Aunty Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, she died five years later.
Max’s Aunty Jenny was then also diagnosed with aggressive, advanced HER2-positive breast cancer in late 2020. Thanks to life-saving cancer research, Jenny is now receiving targeted therapy to manage her cancer and was able to see her eldest son get married in 2022.
Just four years separate Karen dying and Jenny’s diagnosis. These four years have allowed for advances in cancer research and development of life-saving treatment plans that help people like Jenny.
79 days of grit, determination and lots of fun
The four best mates ended up finishing their journey a day early, on day 79 – 79 days of battling injuries like tendonitis, pulled muscles, overuse injuries and shin splints.
They began their challenge with an ambitious goal, to raise $250,000 for people affected by cancer. So far, the boys have raised over $214,000!.
On their journey, the mates were overwhelmed by the kindness and support they received along the way. After crossing the finish line, the mates reflected on their Instagram page:
Perhaps the greatest lesson was the kindness of others. We could not have done this otherwise. Your support – the kind messages, the water placed on the road by strangers, the strangers who opened their homes to us, it was the single most moving thing in all our lives. A special thanks to the 20+ families and people that hosted us in their homes. We will remember each of you forever. We love all our supporters and couldn’t have done this without you.
We can’t thank Sean, Rory, Max and Jasper enough. They truly embody the idea that, when you have a cause greater than yourself, anything is possible.