Dani Orlando and her best friend Emma Van Der Meer are fundraising for us by taking part in the HBF Run on May 28. Their reason for doing it is incredibly personal - this year marks 10 years since Emma's brother, James, passed away from brain cancer when he was just 22. Emma and Dani were 17 at the time.
"Emma and I have been friends since she moved to my high school in Year 10 (2005). We were joint at the hip for many years - I was basically a part of the furniture at her family home. I was at their holidays down south and all their family dinners... I was even there when her step Dad proposed to her Mum. I was also there to witness Emma and her family go through one of the toughest moments in their lives, losing their son and brother James to cancer at just 22-years old. This May will be his ten year anniversary," Dani said.
"Seeing what they all went through, left me feeling pretty helpless. What do you give? What do you say? What do you do? The truth is, there really isn't anything you can do. You just have to be there for them and give them all the love you've got.
"When I accepted my role as Cancer Council WA Ambassador for this year's Run For A Reason, I struggled to think of what 'my reason' was. Whilst James' death was such a massive part of my life being Emma's best friend, I can't say I truly ever experienced the hurt that they went through and I would feel selfish in saying that I did. What James suffered and what Emma's family experienced is something no one should have to go through. That's why for this year's HBF Run for a Reason, it's my way of giving back to Emma and her family... to raise money for Cancer Council WA in James' memory and contribute to help find a cure.
"I encourage everyone - regardless of whether or not you have a reason - to find that friend, find that family member, find that colleague, find that person who does have a reason and show your support for them by getting involved and giving back."
Dani and Emma are rallying as many people as they can to join their 'Walk For James" team and complete the 4km walk, raising as much money as they can to fund cancer research and support for WA families impacted by cancer.
We're so grateful that Emma and Dani are so generously sharing their story to raise money to help us help more families like theirs. The more money we can raise, the more people we can support, and the more research we can fund to get closer to a day when no one loses a loved one to cancer.