There were tears and smiles as hundreds gathered to raise funds to find a cure for brain cancer on Sunday.
Families remembered those who had lost their battle with the disease and supported those still fighting.
The fourth annual Wollongong Walk4BrainCancer event was held at Beaton Park athletics track to raise awareness of the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.
Organiser Kate Mitrovski, whose father died from the disease 25 years ago, was wrapped with the turn out and fundraising effort.
“We had 614 people register to walk and we have raised $67,060,” she said.
“In the past four years we have $168,000.
“I am completely overwhelmed with the level of support from the community for this cause. It means a lot that people turned out, donated and spread the message. I also want to thank the sponsors and volunteers because with their help all the funds will go to the foundation.
Ms Mitrovski said the day was “full of mixed emotions”.
“We want to raise money, awareness and advocacy for research into finding a cure for the disease,” she said.
“We have also come out to honour those who have lost their battle with the disease, celebrate with the survivors and to support those who are still battling it.
“The Wollongong community have come together to make a huge difference in the fight against brain cancer.”
Bellambi carpenter Laurie Thompson was diagnosed with brain cancer 10 weeks ago.
“I went for a scan after I felt light headed,” he said. “I shocked and upset when I was diagnosed. I have to do what I can to keep going.”
His partner Rhianna Dillon said the doctor told them Mr Thompson would have on average 15 months to live with treatment.
“The prognosis for survival rates, even with treatment, has barely improved in decades,” she said. “In the past there has not been a lot of money spent on funding for treatment.
“More funding needs to be allocated to finding better treatments to improve the prognosis for patients.”
Mr Thompson said he was pleased to be at the walk to help raise awareness of the disease and money for research.
“The turn out was great,” he said. “I enjoyed saying G’Day to everyone, walking around and spreading a bit of cheer.”
The day was particularly bittersweet for the members of Team Cass.
Cass Nascimento died five years ago on November 11 when she was 19 years old after a three-year battle with the disease.
Her father Joe Nascimento said Sunday was about remembering and honouring his daughter’s memory.
“Cass touched a lot of people and she became an ambassador for the Sony Foundation and Cure Brain Cancer Foundation,” he said.
“She was an inspiration to a lot of people. There were 800 people at her funeral and we did a walk on the first anniversary of her passing where 1000 people turned out and we raised $70,000.
“Being a part of the Walk4BrainCancer helps us to keep her memory alive and carry on her legacy.
“On the anniversary of Cass’ death, it was nice to be surrounded by other people who were going through or knew someone who has been impacted by this disease.”
Russell Vale resident Sammy Jones, 32, is heading to Germany on Friday to have immunotherapy treatment to help give her immune system a boost so she can continue to fight the cancer.
“I was diagnosed in 2015 and had surgery and now the cancer has changed and I have had more surgery,” she said.
“Doing immunotherapy feels right for my body now and I am feeling well at the moment.
“It is nice to be out for the walk but at the same time it is sad to see everyone wearing shirts of people they have lost.”
Ms Mitrovski said she started the event because she realised not much had changed in efforts to find a cure since her father died.
“I want to honour my Dad’s memory and raise as much money as I can for research to help those impacted by the disease now and in the future,” she said.