Walking to the future

WE DID IT: Celebrations after the walkers made it the 130 kilometres from Dubbo to Mudgee in honour of a cancer centre. Photo: ORLANDER RUMING

WE DID IT: Celebrations after the walkers made it the 130 kilometres from Dubbo to Mudgee in honour of a cancer centre. Photo: ORLANDER RUMING

There were balloons, flowers and plenty of tearful hugs on Saturday afternoon as about 20 walkers arrived at Dubbo Hospital.

The group made the 130 kilometre walk from Mudgee across three days to raise awareness of the need for an integrated cancer centre in Dubbo.

Despite her exhaustion after the trek, Amanda Comincioli said it was “absolutely” worth it.

“We had probably 20 walkers each day and everyone was just amazing. We had really good team spirit, really good jokes and it’s been a lot of fun,” Ms Comincioli said.

“[Friday] was probably the funniest day of my life.”

The walkers said they had numerous people try to give them donations, but the goal of the walk was purely awareness, not fundraising.

Last month more than 45,600 signatures were handed to Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton for a cancer centre to be established at Dubbo Hospital.

The petition was launched in early May. Three weeks later Mr Coulton promised the federal government would provide $25 million for the cancer centre if re-elected.

Ms Comincioli, who lives in Mudgee, said the centre would provide closer treatment for Mudgee families as well.

Doing the walk had definitely increased the awareness, she said.

“We encouraged people to give us a honk on the road and we had plenty if toots. And you could tell when people drove past and gave us a honk or a wave that they knew what we were doing,” she said.

Despite learning quite a few new jokes, Ms Comincioli admitted the walk was tough.

“The hardest part was the endurance, just the length of it. You can’t really explain your body just… you’ve got to push through it,” she said.

“But we all had good reason to do it.”

All of the walkers had ribbons printed on their shirts for loved ones who had been diagnosed with cancer.

The group arrived at Dubbo Hospital just after 3.30pm on Saturday where a crowd of supporters cheered them on.

A plan for the cancer centre at the hospital is already underway.

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