A brisk walk in Parramatta Park held special significance for Ceren Sancak this morning.
Ceren was among more than 600 people taking part in the annual Coleman Greig Challenge, which has raised over $1 million since 2013 for the Westmead Hospital Foundation, The Royal Institute for Death and Blind Children, and St Gabriel’s School for children with an intellectual disability.
The local mum was inspired to take part after her daughter Mila was born 10 weeks’ premature and spent two months in Westmead’s neonatal intensive care unit.
It was a joyous moment as she crossed the line with Mila, as well as her husband Can and son Doruk.
“Everyone here is very happy because they are doing something for babies, and I think that’s one of the best things you can do in your life,” Ceren said.
“It’s something little that means a lot to me because all the team at Westmead Hospital supported us, they gave all their love and all their care and attention to us when we were there, which is something I can never forget.”
World champion athlete Jana Pittman took part in the 2.5 kilometre walk with her daughter Jemima as part of the Westmead Foundation team.
It was Jana’s fourth time doing the Coleman Greig Challenge and she particularly enjoyed meeting Ceren and Mila.
“The community for this event is really wonderful; people from all walks of life – medicine, business, community, churches – all join together and get involved,” Jana said.
“I have been lucky enough to go to St Gabriel’s and the Westmead Hospital neonatal intensive care unit and see firsthand where the funds are going. To see what our community can do in that setting is really beautiful.”
The two-time World Championships gold medallist is about to begin her new career as a junior doctor at Blacktown Hospital as she studies to become a gynaecologist.
“I loved my athletics, representing Australia was truly a gift, but I hope my future in medicine is an even better one,” Jana said.
While fundraising and fun was the focus of the day, the Westmead Hospital Foundation team also boasted a few impressive athletes in its ranks.
Surgeon Julie Howle won the women’s 10km run, Jenny Celkys won the women’s 5km, and gynaecologist Greg Jenkins finished second in the men’s 5km.
You can still support all three charities by donating to the Westmead Hospital Foundation team here.
To donate directly to the Westmead Hospital Foundation or enquire about how to leave a gift to the hospital in your will, contact bequest officer Alison Whittaker on 1800 639 037 or email Alison.Whittaker@wmrf.org.au.