By Romy Stephens
As the month of June comes to an end, so too does one of the most eventful four weeks of George Dyer’s life.
Over 11 days this month, George has run over 560km to raise money and awareness for breast cancer.
He took on a 100km run at Knox Athletics Track on 7 June and recently completed a ‘Great Train Run’, which saw him run the entire length of the metropolitan train network.
The effort was inspired by the early passing of George’s mother, at age 60, from breast cancer.
George decided to dedicate the month of June to fundraising, with his two daughters, Ashley and Taylor, who dyed their hair pink.
“With mum passing away from breast cancer 27 years ago, we’ve done bits and pieces of fundraising. The Cancer Council, the Mother’s Day Classic, all those sorts of things over the years,” George said.
“This is the first time we fully immersed ourselves in the whole thing.”
Since beginning the campaign, the Ferntree Gully-based family has raised a staggering amount of money, sitting just under $12,500.
But George said along the way, the journey became so much more than the dollars raised.
“We started to see in ourselves that it wasn’t just about raising money it was about getting awareness out there,” George said.
“When people first saw the concept that I was going to run 10 days and 467kms on all the train lines they would think I’m mad and they started praising me.
“But I wanted to point out to people that it wasn’t about me, I was doing something for a cause.”
That cause was helping achieve zero deaths to breast cancer by 2030 and ultimately, a cure.
George also said he wanted to emphasise the message to get checked for breast cancer early, something he said his mother had failed to do.
“Early diagnosis is the key at the moment until they find a cure,” George explained.
“Trying to get out the message that, whether you’re male or female – because we had somebody who donated who said he was a survivor of male breast cancer – if you can at any stage, any doubts get straight off and get tested.”
Upon reflecting on the effort, George said it was “therapeutic” and brought back many memories of his mum.
“I still can’t believe that I ran for 11 days in the middle of winter in Melbourne and didn’t get rained on,” he said.
“Somebody took care of the weather, I assume it must have been her.”
He also said it was an uplifting experience thanks to the outpour of support and stories from others.
“It was a crazy adventure, totally different, that most people don’t think of doing,” George said.
“We found it very rewarding but very humbling because you hear so many stories. Even on day one I bumped into a Councillor over in Hobsons Bay and she had her own personal battle with breast cancer.
“I felt privileged in that they wanted to talk about it and I felt like I was actually doing something for them in that sense.”
Having completed 97 marathons, George said he now hoped to complete his 100th at the Melbourne Marathon later this year – permitting Covid-19 restrictions would allow for it.
But that’s not all the avid runner has in his sights.
“I’ve got some more plans, some more craziness down the track,” George said.
“I want to do marathons in 50 states in America, I’ve got 23 states to go.
“I think I’ve done 17 countries, I want to do 50 countries.”
Some more runs for breast cancer are also on the table, with running the country train lines and from Melbourne to Sydney both possible options.
But for now, George is happily reflecting on his family’s efforts over the past month.
“It’s been a journey, it’s been an experience for us. It’s really taken us to different places than we thought we were going to go,” he said.
“We actually do feel like we’ve made a little difference. Hopefully somewhere, somebody has seen this and has decided to go and get themselves checked and maybe save their life.
“We’ll never know, but we hope that maybe we’ve made a difference, somewhere along the line.”