The Real Stories Behind HBF Run for a Reason: Hero Hunter Foundation

HBF Run for a Reason — Hero Hunter 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: Hero Hunter Foundation

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

This is one story of thousands

Credit: Kate Bettenay

Kate Bettenay is one of those people. She’s walking the Specsavers 12km race with a group of around 40 friends and family. Her reason is one she holds very close to her heart. She’s fundraising for the Hero Hunter Foundation — a charity she set up in the name of her son Hunter Leigh Madden, who was just three years old when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Hunter battled Leukaemia for five years, had three relapses, endured gruelling treatment, and devastatingly passed away in September 2021 at only eight years old.

“I think losing a child is probably the worst thing you can ever go through. Hunter fought so hard. He deserved to be here and really wanted to be. The thing with me is I get to hold my two earthside children and tell them how much I love them. And I get to show Hunter how much I love him,” Kate said.

“Hunter was funny, witty, and wise beyond his years. He was incredibly kind and loved camping, boating, and adventures. His happy place was on the water, and fishing was his life. He always made the most of everything.”

The Hero Hunter Foundation

Credit: Kate Bettenay

“My reason for taking part in the HBF Run for a Reason is about honouring my beautiful eldest son Hunter, and supporting all the children and families who are currently going through treatment, and the ones who are yet to.”

As the mum of a child with cancer, Kate learnt first-hand how long and tough the journey could be. From her experience, the Hero Hunter Foundation was born to support the families of Western Australian children with cancer.

“The support from friends, family, and colleagues was the exact reason we started this foundation. We were incredibly lucky and blessed to be surrounded by a huge support network. We had a cleaner provided for us, a meal train, and friends and family helped finish our home renovation as we were halfway through when Hunter was diagnosed.”

“Everything about this foundation is a mirror image of the support we were lucky enough to receive. We had a village of people holding us up which allowed us to hold Hunter up. But, so many people don’t have that. Whether they’re living rurally or just don’t have any family here, we wanted to change that.”

Making a difference

The Hero Hunter Foundation is made up of a dedicated team of individuals, many of whom have a personal story with cancer and want to give back. 

“We donate healthy and nutritious meals to the carers through a partnership with YouFoodz, we undertake regular deep cleaning of families’ homes, and garden busy bees. We cover the never-ending costs of travelling to and from the hospital, as well as respite adventure days and holidays, and remedial massage on the wards. The Hero Hunter Foundation tries to fill the gap that makes going through treatment easier and more bearable.”

Advocacy is a huge part of what we do. We talk about it and shout it from the rooftops because no one should be doing this alone. 

Raising awareness for childhood cancer

Credit: Kate Bettenay

Kate’s goal for this year’s Run for a Reason is to honour Hunter while raising awareness and money for childhood cancer.

“Last year we raised around $4,800, and I’d love to raise around $20,000 this year. We are so grateful to all of those who chose the Hero Hunter Foundation as their reason. If you raise money for us, you also get a bright and offensive green cape to run in and keep.”

“By supporting our foundation, you can support the parents of children fighting their biggest battles. If you’re looking after the parents, then they are in the best place to look after their kids. A donation of just $10.00 will provide two meals for two carers, so every little bit counts.” 

It’s estimated that on average, about 750 children aged between 0 and 14 are diagnosed with cancer each year in Australia, and 101 of those pass away, according to the Cancer Council Australia. Almost half (48%) are aged between zero and four at diagnosis, with a median age of only five years old. 

​​”It’s [childhood cancer] everywhere but people don’t want to talk about it. I think it was, and still is, a taboo subject — we are trying to change that. When children are also going through treatment, you don’t see them because they are immunocompromised. It all goes on behind closed doors.”

Smashing goals

Credit: Kate Bettenay

“The HBF Run for a Reason means so much to us. It’s another way to show our reason and our why to the world.”

Kate knows crossing the finish line will be an extremely emotional moment. While it will likely trigger tears, she says she’ll be filled with elation and pride.

“I always thought that my first-born son was going to change the world. He has made an incredible difference. I just wish he was here to see it.”

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 Kate, 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 Kate’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.
Featured image: Kate Bettenay