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Help Win the Day this November by virtually walking to Sydney.

Local charity, Win the Day, who support families with rare childhood cancers, is calling on Canberrans to win the month of November by completing a virtual walk to Sydney.

For Canberra families with children who have rare cancers, seeking essential treatment requires them to travel to the Westmead or Randwick children’s hospital, often for months at a time.

Chase the Rainbow is a virtual challenge encouraging Canberrans to team up and collectively clock up 300km over November.

Win the Day founder Kristy Giteau told Canberra Weekly she’s setting out aiming to raise $10,000 and have over 100 entrants in the challenge.

“My family is quite competitive, we’ve already set up our team, Giteau Power,” she smiled. “My mum, a 67-year-old fitness fanatic, is trying to individually walk the 300km in the month!” One hundred per cent of the $30 registration fee will directly fund two meals for an oncology carer, who spends nearly every minute at their child’s bedside.

“You’re with your child all the time and end up skipping meals and just resorting to instant coffee and tea in the communal kitchen.”

Alongside helping with meals, Win the Day offers assistance via accommodation and relapse support grants. “A gap is clearly there that I identified through lived experience,” Ms Giteau said.

The name Win the Day became a common refrain shared by Ms Giteau, her husband and family after their daughter Ka’ili was diagnosed with a rare cancer in June 2019. “The win the day mantra for us was we can’t control cancer or treatment that comes her way, but I can control her going to bed and waking up happy and content for the next day,” she said.

After eight months of positive treatment, Ka’ili relapsed in July 2020.

“We’d used all our leave, were paying a mortgage and had two other kids to worry about. We had to ask ourselves if we could afford to go through it again,” Ms Giteau said. “It wasn’t until then that I entertained starting a charity.” From there Ms Giteau was motivated to create a future where families don’t have to worry about affording to seek care for their sick children should they contract a rare cancer. She identified the three gaps in the offerings from existing charities that Win the Day covers – accommodation, meal assistance, and relapse support.

Having started the charity at the beginning of the year, Ms Giteau is currently in the process of spreading the word and engaging hospital social workers at Westmead, Randwick and here in Canberra so they’re able to refer eligible families to the charity.

“A lot of families don’t hear about charities until they’ve got diagnosis gone into ward then hear from social workers about what’s available,” Ms Giteau said.

“For any families that need it we’re here … That’s my dream I can’t wait for the day when I can tell our volunteer committee. “We dream big and hope one day we can say we’ve helped someone.” Ms Giteau said she’s been “very humbled” by the support Win the Day has received from the Canberra community to date. “They’re incredibly giving and open to helping where they can,” she said. “I’m very thankful for being in Canberra and being a Canberran.”

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