CONCERT Member Of The Month

Nasreen Kaadan: Running 1095km to Fund Lung Cancer Research

When adversity strikes, it can bring you to your knees. But if adversity strikes not once, but repeatedly, knocking you down again and again, you could be forgiven if you stayed down and never quite made it back up.

But Nasreen Kaadan is a woman who refuses to stay down. Rising from adversity not once, but four times, Nasreen is a woman on a mission. That mission is to raise $20K for research into the cancer which claimed the life of four family members.

Losing her mother-in-law to lung cancer, followed by her father and then father-in-law, the disease had well and truly played a devastating role in Nasreen’s life. But the hardest battle was yet to come. In 2017, Nasreen’s husband, Izzat, experienced back pain followed by sudden weight loss.

“Although he didn’t have the usual symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath, his sudden weight loss and persistent back pain set off alarm bells in my head,” explains Nasreen, who is the Cancer Information Program Manager at the Ingham Institute.

After visiting numerous specialists and undergoing multiple tests, Izzat was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. In July 2018, nine months after diagnosis, he passed away. He was 50-years old.

Despite the grief that threatened to consume her, Nasreen decided she needed to do something positive, not only for her husband but for future cancer sufferers as well. Finding no organisations dedicated specifically to lung cancer, Nasreen approached her employer, Ingham Institute to help set up the Ingham Institute Lung Cancer Charity and pledged to run, walk or jog three kilometres every day for a year in a bid to raise $20K for lung cancer research. That’s 1095 kilometres which is more than walking from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast!

“Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the country and yet only receives five per cent of cancer research funding,” says Nasreen.

“The disparity in research funding is thought to be because lung cancer is considered a shameful disease. It’s seen as the result of lifestyle choices and is therefore stigmatised. But anyone can get lung cancer. It doesn’t discriminate.”

Nasreen believes that research is the first step towards improving the chances of survival for lung cancer sufferers.

“Breast cancer has a 90% survival rate now which has been largely due to the huge amount of funding investment into research as well as a breast cancer screening program. Lung cancer, on the other hand, has only a 17% survival rate with little research funding and still no national screening program. There is obviously a clear correlation.”

Aiming to reach her goal of $20K by the end of this year, has seen Nasreen running, walking, cycling and even baking, to raise what she hopes will be a starting grant towards providing insight into this insidious disease.

“I’m happy for the money to go towards a grant that will look into genetic factors and other causes, improved treatments, any research that can have real benefit.”

So, every day, despite the weather, despite the aches and pains, and despite the days when she feels like it’s all too much, Nasreen refuses to let adversity define her. She’s a woman on a mission.

To donate, go to: https://inghaminstitute.org.au/ingham-lung-cancer-charity/

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By Linda Music