Earlier this year, Cheryl lost her beloved daughter, Alysha, to glioblastoma. As Cheryl prepares to tackle next month’s Run Melbourne with Team Cure Brain Cancer, we spoke to Cheryl about Alysha’s impact in raising awareness of brain cancer, and how this is driving the proud mum to continue her daughter’s fight.
"I think we’ve lost way too many people, young ones and children to this horrid disease, and we need to find a cure."
Cheryl Waye in her Team Cure Brain Cancer singlet.
Why did you join our team for Run Melbourne?
Well, I joined Team Cure Brain Cancer for the first time for Run Melbourne last year. The reason I did this year was because I lost my beautiful 26-year-old daughter, Alysha, to stage 4 glioblastoma in February this year. I think we’ve lost way too many people, young ones and children to this horrid disease, and we need to find a cure. The best way we can do this is to get out there and raise awareness and funds for the extremely vital research.
What did you know about brain cancer prior to Alysha's diagnosis?
We knew nothing about brain cancer at all. We had no idea how bad it was, how many young lives are taken by brain cancer, and how much research is needed. I also had no idea about how much time, effort and money is involved in researching brain cancer. All these lives have been lost, and we haven’t really moved forward in relation to finding a cure.
Tell us a little about Alysha's journey with brain cancer?
Alysha was initially diagnosed in November 2015, shortly
after returning from the University Games. After experiencing seizures, Alysha
underwent an MRI which highlighted a mass on her brain. We initially thought
this was a sack of fluid, but unfortunately this was later confirmed to be grade
4 glioblastoma. She had surgery to remove as much as possible, which was followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy over the next six months.
In the three-and-a-bit years which she lived with brain
cancer, Alysha was an incredible advocate for raising funds and awareness of
the disease, particularly at Walk4BrainCancer in Melbourne. In 2016, she
returned to Monash University to finish her double degree in Arts &
Science, which she completed by the end of 2018.
After graduating, Alysha gained a position at BUPA as an
intern through a Disability scheme, where she worked at the people team on Wellbeing
and inclusion. She was very focused on inclusion and diversity, and in her
time, advocated for an improvement in disabled access to the BUPA offices on
level 13 of their building. Now, thanks to Alysha, the whole building is set to
receive an overhaul in disabled access. She also advocated for a gender-neutral
toilet to be installed, which was installed earlier this year. By the end of
2018, Alysha was working part-time at BUPA as a consultant, but the tumour had
returned, and her memory and balance really began to deteriorate. She went on a
nice holiday to Thailand in early December with
some friends, but from there really went downhill.
You must be very proud of Alysha's advocacy work?
I’m very, very proud. Along with all her work at BUPA and her support of Walk4BrainCancer and Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, but also with
the Australian Brain Cancer Mission, too. I was the proudest Mum in the world
when she spoke at the 2017 Dine for a Cure in Melbourne, telling her story to a
packed room of about 500 people. One thing which stands out for me was the
support she offered to her close friends, one whose
mother had been diagnosed with brain cancer. Alysha spoke at a gathering of
close family and friends and discussed her journey with them to help raise
awareness. She also supported other friends who are on their own brain cancer
Alysha nicknamed her tumour ‘Gladys’, and for
Walk4BrainCancer Melbourne, formed team ‘Go Awaye Gladys’ and used the hashtag
‘#goawayegladys on social media. Now in memory of Alysha, we use the hashtag ‘#goneawaye.
So, anyone who has been touched by Alysha’s journey – her school friends, her
Uni friends, her BUPA friends, and all the people she has worked with, anyone
that knows and has been touched by her, is part of Alysha’s Army. It’s about
having a name to honour her, so we can say, “This is why we’re doing this”, and
we honour her to help find a cure.
Alysha's advocacy work helped raise much-needed awareness of brain cancer
How would you best describe Alysha's personality?
was always concerned about other people. Even when she was really sick, the
welfare of others, and what they were up to, was always a priority for her.
Everybody else came first. She was a very strong, passionate and inspirational person, and I know that from the journey we did together, it’s her strength that’s got me to where I am, and I draw upon that strength regularly to try and help keep me going.
Many of her friends comment today how she still inspires them daily.
She enjoyed music and drama.
She played the lead role in her school play during her final year of school, so
acting was certainly one of her passions. She did play Softball during Uni,
where she managed and led her University team
for four years.
What does it mean to you to see people donate to your Run Melbourne fundraising page?
To me, it means that they’re supporting what we’re fighting for. It also means that we are getting awareness out there by making people realise that there is something they can do in the fight against brain cancer. You don’t have to walk or run, but you can still donate. We want to be able to raise money for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, so that they can help fund vital brain cancer research. I’m proud to have people donate in honour and in memory of Alysha, but also our main purpose is the help fund more research to help find that cure.
I competed in last year’s Run Melbourne, and proudly wore my
purple Cure Brain Cancer Foundation singlet. Ahead of this year’s event, I’ve
been wearing my purple singlet to the gym to help raise further awareness.
What's your message to anyone in the community who is thinking about fundraising for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation?
Cure Brain Cancer Foundation are the biggest advocates for
brain cancer research here in Australia. I’m proud to be involved with such an
amazing cause, and we’re proud to be able to support them in any way to be able
to fund more research to help find that cure.
- Date: Sunday 28 July 2019
- Distance: Run, walk or jog the half marathon, 10km or 5km routes
- Be part of our amazing community of runners and receive coaching and guidance before race day
Why run for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation?
You'll be running to fund world-class clinical trials and treatment options, and better still, when you join our passionate community, you will receive:
- A FREE 2XU running singlet once you raise $50, and a FREE 2XU running visor once you raise $500
- Access to a dedicated Sports Fundraising Coordinator to help guide you through your fundraising and fitness journey
By joining our team as a Charity Superstar, you will also receive:
- Free race entry
- A dedicated charity wave start, up the front of the pack with plenty of freedom and space to run
- Invitation to the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation catered marquee, where you can leave your bags before the race and join us for a post-race celebration.
Join our team as a Charity Superstar
Join Team Cure Brain Cancer at Run Melbourne 2019