The Real Stories Behind HBF Run for a Reason: Fiona Woods Foundation

HBF Run for a Reason — Fiona Woods Foundation
The real stories behind the people participating in HBF Run for a Reason. What’s your reason?

The Real Stories Behind HBF Run for a Reason: Fiona Woods Foundation

The real stories behind the people participating in HBF Run for a Reason. What’s your reason?
HBF Run for a Reason — Fiona Woods Foundation
Brought to you by

HBF Run for a Reason unites thousands of people for hundreds of different reasons. Some take part to improve their fitness, some are keen for a day of fun with friends and family, and others are participating to fundraise for a loved one.

This is community spirit at its best and it’s why HBF has been running this event for the WA community since 2010.

In partnership with HBF, we take a look behind the everyday legends who will walk/run/wheel to support local charities on Sunday, May 19th — sharing their emotional stories with the hope to not only raise awareness for their cause but to inspire others to do the same. 

This is one story of thousands

Burns survivor Adele Fowler is one of those people who has shared her story and reason with us. She’s walking the CommBank 4km with four girlfriends to raise money and awareness for the Fiona Wood Foundation. Adele’s reason is one very close to her heart. In May 2022, the outdoor ethanol heater of her new home burst into flames. It caused a life-threatening explosion that engulfed her and burnt 33% of her body, including the right side of her face, neck, chest, both hands, and torso.

Adele recovering in hospital.
Adele recovering in hospital.

“I didn’t know what my future was going to look like. I didn’t know what I would be able to do, and what I wouldn’t be able to do because of the pain I was in constantly. My reason is to raise awareness for the Fiona Wood Foundation because they’re just amazing. They’ve helped me so much,” Adele said.

HBF Run for a Reason is also the day before her second year “burn anniversary” — a date she celebrates each year by doing something different. 

“For the first year, I had a photoshoot with a phoenix rising from the ashes theme, to embrace my new body. This year, I’m walking to celebrate the fact that I’m here. That I can do something I didn’t think I was going to be able to do.”

“I remember how scared I was when I was newly recovering. I was so sore and so tired all the time and if I didn’t drink enough water my burns would tighten up. I want to show people who have a burn that it’s going to get better.”

Treatment and recovery journey

HBF Run for a Reason
Adele and the four girlfriends who will be joining her in the HBF Run for a Reason.

“Following the accident, I was admitted to the Fiona Stanley Burns Unit, where I spent five challenging weeks. My burns journey involved two surgeries for skin grafts and spray skin treatments. As an early-release patient, my routine included attending the burns unit four times a week for dressing changes, psychotherapy sessions, and consultations with occupational therapists.”

At first, Adele couldn’t do anything. She couldn’t use her hands because they were still burnt, hyper-sensitive, and unable to move. Her partner had to do everything for her, from cooking and feeding her to washing and dressing her.

Her burns recovery has been anything but easy. She’s endured infection after infection, and admits that those days were some of her darkest. She missed her 50th birthday because she was struggling with a particularly difficult infection. But slowly, she began to heal.

“When you can’t do anything for yourself, it’s your dignity that goes. Every time I could suddenly do something, it was a big celebration. So, washing my hair for the first time and going to the bathroom by myself was massive.”

“The support from friends and family was amazing. I was so humbled by people popping in, and bringing food for the family. I would just cry on them, and then they’d manage to make me laugh through my tears. I got cards, people phoning and messaging me from all around the world. I reconnected with people who I had lost touch with. It was unbelievable. I just think I’m so lucky.”

Raising awareness for burns survivors

Adele is a burns survivor competing in the HBF Run for a Reason.
Adele and her two sons, and husband.

“My fundraising goal was $500, but I reached that. So, now it’s $1,000. I’m so grateful to anyone who can spare a few dollars because it’s such a difficult financial time for a lot of people right now.”

“HBF Run for a Reason means so much to me. It means I’m alive. I’m here, and I’m able. To me, that’s everything. I’m so grateful to still be here and move in a way that I’m able to compete. I’m thinking for my third burn anniversary, I’ll do the 12km.”

Adele knows crossing the finish line will be an extremely emotional moment. With her partner, children and first grandchild cheering on the sidelines, it will likely trigger tears. But she says she’ll be filled with elation and pride. She’s also looking forward to meeting the other burn survivors who are going to be there.

“Life is good now. I still have my low days, mostly after my surgeries with my scars. But life is great. I’m surrounded by incredible friends and family, and I’m coming out the other side. It did take a good year and a half, but I feel like I’m flying now and I’m only going to heal more.”

Donate or register

Throughout the past 11 years, HBF Run for a Reason has helped raise over $11 million for more than 200 charities. Like Adele, you can make a major difference by raising money for a charity close to your heart or choose to support one of the event’s hero charities, including — Cancer Council WA, Diabetes WA, Lifeline WA, and the Heart Foundation.

If you would like to make a difference, donate to Adele’s cause. Or find your reason, lace up your sneakers, and register today. We can’t wait to see you at the start line on Sunday, May 19th.

This article was created in partnership with HBF.