Running to remember a brave little sister

SOMEWHERE near the front of the horde that makes its way through Sydney in this year’s City2Surf will be 18-year-old Jarrett Anthoney, running in memory of his little sister Dainere, who passed away on June 24.

Dainere died of a brain tumour, and Jarrett has entered the fundraising category of the iconic 14km run, attracting an incredible amount of money for research into the little-understood type of cancer, which kills more people aged under 40 than any other.

“When I first entered they told me I needed a minimum of $1000 and I was a little worried,” he explains. “But then I got there pretty quick and I thought: ‘Maybe I’ll go for $3000, or maybe $5000,’ but it’s just taken off and it’s now over $30,000; it’s just insane.”

Dainere Anthoney.

Dainere Anthoney.

His proud mum Yvonne points out it’s the second highest amount raised by anyone taking part for a charitable cause.

“To be honest, after I got to $3000, which was what I was hoping to get at first, I just kept increasing the target so I could keep getting more,” says Jarett.

There’s no point in stopping at a target, he explains, because the cost of cancer research is staggering. Yvonne quotes neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo, who estimates it will take about “$50 billion over 30 to 50 years” to find a cure for brain cancer and says “we need significant funds injected now if we are to see any reduction in brain cancer related deaths”.

Jarett says running also reminds him of the good times he shared with his younger sibling at Little Athletics, where she switched from track to field when she could no longer walk, participating in throwing events from her wheelchair.

Yvonne and her husband Stephen say that throughout the illness, Dainere’s bravery, selflessness and way with words encouraged others not to be sad, but to help her raise funds that might go towards improving the five per cent survival rate for her condition.

“When she got sick she kind of took it as if it was meant to be; she believed she was given that journey for a reason and she felt her reason then was to inspire others and help them through, and raise awareness and funds,” says Yvonne.

A gifted writer, Dainere published two books and raised more than $62,000 for the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation Brain Tumour Research Fund, not only from the book sales but also a lot of other fundraising work. Jarrett is committed to continue what she started.

“Rather than just being all upset about it, she wanted to go out there and help other people,” he explains.

“It was just really selfless and I couldn’t see myself doing that. I just think it’s really inspiring, her doing that, and it’s inspired me to do this.”

Jarrett’s not aiming to finish the City2Surf in a particular time, having never done such a long course at race pace. On the other hand, he’s been running long distance seriously for the past six years, trains nearly every day, and looks to be in pretty good form.

“I just want to finish feeling like I’ve given 100 per cent,” he says.

Family and friends will be waiting for him when he does, including his older sister Nalani, who might even be able to provide a massage using the skills she is learning at university, according to their mum.

 The City2Surf is on August 11. Jarrett’s fundraising page is at fundraise.city2surf.com.au/Jarrett_Anthoney90

TOP PICTURE: City2Surf contestant Jarrett Anthoney, running in memory of his brave little sister… “I just want to finish feeling like I’ve given 100 per cent,” he says. Photo by Brent McDonald

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