Unite BLOG

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Let’s get ready to Unite!

We’re excited to announce another Unite to Fight Cancer in 2021. 

Last year, and in the midst of a pandemic, you walked, ran, crawled, and cycled up a storm. 

Together, your resilience and hard work resulted in over $1.85million raised for lifesaving cancer research.

And, we can’t wait to Unite with you again this October!


JOIN US IN 2021!

Over these past months, it’s been amazing to see so many of you continue to wear your Unite gear with pride.

Not only has it helped fellow supporters spot you out and about, but it’s encouraged conversations about Unite, and cancer research too.

And, some of our heroes have already started to get busy with fundraising for 2021, a big shout out to Andrew and Sheila Downey!

Better known to the Unite Community as ‘Simply the Breast’, the team bake and sell their beautiful cupcakes for all of Victoria to enjoy!

What’s in store for Unite to Fight Cancer 2021 you ask?

Pop your details in right here and be the first to know when registrations open later in the year. 

Here’s to less lockdown, stocked shelves of toilet roll, and a hug or two (social distancing pending).


You’ve done it!!

Congratulations on making it to the finish line for Peter Mac’s 2020 UNITE adventure. It’s been 10 days of hard walking, hard riding and hard fundraising. We’re utterly blown away by the generosity, inspiring stories, and community support on social. And how far we all managed to go!

We hope you are hugely proud of all you achieved. Over 3,200 of us UNITED to cover more than 310,000km and together with your mates, families and colleagues, you raised a magnificent $1.7m.

While you’ve all been doing it tough, it’s been an honour to read more about your heroes – the people who moved you to help Peter Mac and keep pressing on.

Today we’re crossing the finish line and celebrating thousands of remarkable people to whom each walk and ride has been dedicated. One such remarkable person, Brendan North, is remembered by Team Northy.

We’ll share more photos and stories in the coming days. And ask for your feedback about UNITE soon too. It just remains for us to say THANK YOU. Thank you so, so much. 

OVER $1.7M

already raised to support our vital research

OVER 24,000

sponsors backing our UNITE heroes


At just 23 years of age, Brendan North lost his life to a rare form of cancer called Synovial Sarcoma last year.

So some of Brendan’s family and friends came together, dubbed themselves Team Northy, and have taken part in the 60km walking challenge for UNITE.

Team Northy – made up of Kylie Vines, Kylie White, Deb, Mandy, Carmel, Shayna, Chloe, Tia and Vanessa – are walking in Brendan’s honour; for those who have lost their life to cancer, and those who are fighting the fight.

Thank you, team, for everything you’ve achieved together, and for raising over $7,000 for cancer research at Peter Mac.


And here we are, one final day’s paces and pedals to go. We’re leaping over $1.6m raised now, and that monumental total grows. Every post on social, every story shared, every thank you sent you, all make a difference. Thank you for all the effort you’re putting in.

On the topic of effort, two shout outs today. The first goes to… YOU! The UNITE community’s racked up enough kms to get 75% of the way to the MOON! Wow. Next stop, Mars.

Second shout… to all the amazing staff of Peter Mac taking part. From the medical and research departments plus their support staff to the volunteers and Foundation team. We’re hearing remarkable stories of long days worked followed by long walks and rides. Associate Professor Gavin Wright has clocked up nearly 500kms despite two long days (10 and 13 hours) operating on cancer patients.

We salute you all. Your dedication to both Peter Mac and UNITE is truly humbling. Thank you, each and every one of you.

OVER $1.6M

already raised to support our vital research

OVER 23,000

sponsors backing our UNITE heroes

SAM’s story

Sam Pritchard is taking part in the 200km ride for UNITE, and is dedicating his challenge to his father Anthony Pritchard who died of cancer.

Sam’s family have been touched by cancer a number of times – as well as his father, he lost both grandfathers to cancer. Two of his uncles and an aunt have all had cancer and are now in remission. And most recently, his father-in-law was diagnosed suddenly with prostate cancer and had to have urgent surgery, he is now thankfully in remission. That’s what finally pushed Sam to break through the “groundhog day of COVID-19 and working from home” and sign up for UNITE.

“Signing up meant that I could contribute to a worthy cause, and give myself a focus for exercise through the lockdown.”

Sam has been especially grateful for the support of his friends and family throughout the challenge – on Day 7, some of them even joined him on his ride:

“Waking up on Day 5, my quads were so sore I thought I’d be in agony yesterday, but I had a rest day and felt OK! Had a great ride this morning with some friends helping me along the way, 75% of target done and hopefully the weather is kind for the final few days!”

Thank you Sam for being part of UNITE, and thank you to all your generous supporters for their encouragement and sponsorship. Together, you’ve made a real difference for families facing cancer.


Everyone is racing for the finish now and it’s amazing to see how you’re all getting on. Never has so much purple been seen across Australia. We’re barely able to contain our happiness at UNITE’s fundraising reaching $1.5m (and still climbing). With all the unusual aspects of 2020 we know it’s taken even more passion for everyone to hit those heights. Thank you all. Thank you very much! It’s going to help Peter Mac’s research projects and further empower our search for cures.

We’ve been chatting a lot these last couple of days with people pressing on from their goals and going the extra (hundred) km. With the end of UNITE in sight, if you are near, or over, your fundraising goal, why not nudge it up a little? Then your friends will be even more likely to help you push for the line.

We’d like to introduce you to a familiar face from our previous events. A cancer-fighting, fundraising superhero and Peter Mac volunteer – the legendary Graeme.

OVER $1.59M

already raised to support our vital research

OVER 22,867

sponsors backing our UNITE heroes

GRAEME’s story

Graeme Sissing has taken on the 200km ride for UNITE this year – and has actually clocked up over 250km, so he’s already smashed his challenge!

What makes that particularly remarkable is that Graeme has been battling cancer for the past 9 years, and was diagnosed again at the start of this year. But that makes him all the more determined to make a difference.

“I’ve had my own personal battle with cancer over the last few years – and that’s made me a passionate Peter Mac supporter.”

“I’ll be part of UNITE for as long as I’m able, to give hope to others who face the same fight.”

Over the years, Graeme has been involved with a number of cycling challenge events for us, and in that time, he and his teams have raised over $140,000 for cancer research.

Thank you Graeme – you are an inspiration to us all and we salute you for both your courage and your commitment.


Three days to go and we’re sure you’re all really looking forward to the weekend! In past years we’ve enjoyed the great photos captured on-event. With this being 2020 we’re blessed with more photos from more diverse locations. UNITERS are taking part from New Zealand to the UK, and right across Australia.

From the fundraising powerhouse Jules Insall and others in Melbourne UNITING while keeping safe, to the beautiful Snowy Mountain pics from Lisa Logan. It is fantastic to see how far and wide UNITE is taking an inspiring message of Peter Mac’s work.

On that note we asked a pair of heroes, David and Susan, about their motivation and wanted to share their comments with you all now.

OVER $1.48M

already raised to support our vital research

OVER 21,727

sponsors backing our UNITE heroes


David and Susan Hill have just completed their 200km riding challenges for UNITE – on recumbent bikes.

On 29 September, in a post on their fundraising page, they were celebrating the fact that they’d managed to raise over $1,000 in 48 hours. So they must be thrilled that their fundraising total is now more than 7 times that!

Like so many of our UNITE heroes, the couple are motivated by a very personal connection to the cause. David recalls his own experience of the team at Peter Mac.

“What I would say is that how impressed I was when we had a family member treated with what turned out to be terminal cancer at Peter Mac, was not only how well they treated the patient BUT how well they considered the needs of the family and the level of support the family  received at the hands of the Peter Mac staff.”

Thank you, David and Susan, for being part of UNITE this year and for everything you’ve achieved together to support our research work.


As we start to head to the (sprint/crawl) finish we wanted to give a shout to everyone who has pressed on beyond their distance goal and fundraising targets. Truly impressive to see your kms mounting up while your fundraising excellence powers ever more of Peter Mac’s cancer research.

We’d also like to shout out to the familiar faces from past events for Peter Mac, and past walks / rides across the country. Thank you for your continued kindness and mateship with those fighting cancer.

We’d like to introduce you all to one of our regular wonder walkers, part of the Red Hot Chilli Steppers for many years, Jane. Thank you for all you are doing, and your boundless determination.

OVER $1.44M

already raised to support our vital research

OVER 21,117

sponsors backing our UNITE heroes

JANE’s story

Jane Sadler is taking on the 60km walking challenge for UNITE this year. Her amazing story has been brought to our attention by a close friend, Michelle.

Jane has been doing fundraising events for Peter Mac now for a number of years. Apparently, she’s already clocked up her 60km for this year’s event.

But what is so special about Jane is that she was first diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago and still lives with it today.

“She turned 60 last Wednesday… treatment on Thursday… and then last weekend she goes out and walks 20km. She is nothing short of amazing……and all who know her are in awe of her attitude and strength. Nothing stops this lady!”

Michelle said she’d love to see Jane acknowledged on UNITE DAILY – and we’re more than happy to oblige!

Jane, we too are in awe of your courage and dedication. Thank you so much for uniting with us again – and a belated Happy Birthday to you too!


We’re halfway through the UNITE challenge! Are you stretching and warming down to keep aches and pains at bay? Did you manage to have a rest and recovery day? How are you getting on toward your kms goal?

Each day we’re impressed and humbled in equal measure by your stories. Fantastic fundraising feats and superhuman-levels of physical challenge. We know that neither is easy, especially since 2020 is such an ‘unusual’ year.

So we wanted to let you know that over 20,000 generous donors and utterly brilliant UNITERS have now helped us raise more than $1.4m. That’s a huge crowd of mums, dads, sisters, brothers, mates and colleagues all pushing you on!

Someone supported by a massive cheering squad is Shona. Here’s her story and motivation for getting involved with Peter Mac’s UNITE.

OVER $1.4M

already raised to support our vital research

OVER 20,500

sponsors backing our UNITE heroes

SHONA’s story

Shona Drechsler is taking on the UNITE 60km walk in honour of her dad, Vin, who lost his battle with liver cancer in 2015 and her Uncle Merv who passed away from brain cancer in 1991.

“Every day I think of them and admire their strength and courage in fighting this horrendous disease. More than anything in the world, I would love it if no one else has to ever suffer from cancer.”

Shona was also motivated to take part because of the challenges we’re all facing due to coronavirus.

“I also thought it was the perfect opportunity to exercise, look for the positives and work towards a goal of raising as much money as possible. A great way to mentally escape the lockdown in Melbourne.”

And she’s obviously been putting a lot of time and effort into her fundraising – she’s managed to raise over $14,000 in just 8 days, thanks to the support of over 60 friends and family members.

Keep going Shona – we can’t thank you enough for your support and commitment.


With everyone in Melbourne being grateful for the chance to travel further than 5km, we wanted to mention two other moments to be grateful for.

First, the whole Peter Mac team is truly grateful for every km, every dollar and every story our amazing community is covering, raising and sharing. Thank you so, so much.

Second we’re sure you’re grateful to all your sponsors and mates for backing your UNITE challenge. Please let them know how much you appreciate their generosity and send them your thanks. You can message your sponsors directly from your fundraising page or why not share a post on social and DM / @ / name-check each of them?

Thanks again and good luck for the coming week of UNITING!

OVER $1.36M

already raised to support our vital research

OVER 19,900

sponsors backing our UNITE heroes

RUSSELL’s story

Russell Davis is taking on the 60km walk for UNITE this year, and feels privileged to be involved once again. He first took part in 2016 (the event was known as One Day then).

“I saw something about it on Facebook and thought – I am fit and well, and am always interested in ways of helping people. I can do that! I registered, and very soon decided that I wanted to dedicate my effort to the memory of my much-admired pharmacy work colleague, Debbie.”

Debbie died of breast cancer in 1996 at the age of 35. Russell says that he still thinks of her often.

He’s taken part in UNITE every year since then, each time in honour of someone he’s known who’s been lost to cancer. This year, he’s dedicating his effort to all those we have lost.

Thank you, Russell, for your commitment and determination over the last 4 years. Here at Peter Mac, we really appreciate your support.


As UNITE takes this weekend by storm we have kept an eye on your fantastic progress and inspiring stories. From brilliant Britt Palmer completing 6km in her garden due to isolating, to our own remarkable Rachel Walker (never has a Rachel been more aptly named) completing a truly impressive 51km hike around Sydney – we salute you all!

As the days (and UNITERS) go by, please make sure you’re looking after yourselves as best you can. Reduce soreness and stiffness by stretching before and after your challenge kms and tape any areas that are getting blistered or sore. We’ll share some more tips on social as the days go by, but right now you can grab our warm-up / cool-down guide in the resources area linked from your UNITE fundraising HQ.

Good luck and thank you so much for getting us to over $1.3m already!

OVER $1.33M

already raised to support our vital research

OVER 19,300

sponsors backing our UNITE heroes

EMILY’s story

Emily McNeil is taking on the 200km cycling challenge for UNITE this year. She was inspired to get involved after completing a 10-week clinical placement at Peter Mac as part of her studies. During the placement, Emily worked closely with dietitians and speech pathologists to provide care to patients with head, neck and upper gastrointestinal cancers.

“It was an incredible experience and I now want to work as a dietitian at Peter Mac in the near future and continue to support and care for people fighting their way through cancer.”

Thank you for everything you’re doing, Emily – for your passion and energy in tackling your challenge, and for your care and compassion in the work you do.


Welcome to Day 2 of UNITE and we continue to be astounded by your incredible efforts and inspired by your stories – including this one from the courageous Hayley Eldridge.

Do please make sure you stay safe whilst UNITING. Don’t forget the basics: hydrate, watch for traffic, and wear sunscreen! And if you’re in an area with COVID-19 restrictions, make sure you follow the local rules around distance from home and time outside.

OVER $1.28M

already raised to support our vital research

OVER 18,600

sponsors backing our UNITE heroes


Uniting to Fight Cancer with us

HAYLEY’s story

Hayley Eldridge took part in her first Unite to Fight Cancer in 2019 – just after receiving the all clear from months of cancer treatment at Peter Mac.

This year as she prepared to take on the challenge again, the news was not so good. Hayley’s cancer has returned, and she is back in treatment at Peter Mac.

It hasn’t stopped her, or her team, taking to the streets in Australia and in New Zealand (!) and fundraising again in this year’s UNITE.

Hayley messaged us on Thursday night to say:

“I saw 3 people walking for UNITE on my way home from 6 hours of chemo and you better believe I put the window down, hung myself out of it, beeping the horn and was yelling you’re the best!”

When Hayley got home, she pulled on her trainers, and put in her kilometres for the day as well.

Hayley – we think you’re the best too!


Wow! What a truly incredible start to UNITE! You’ve been painting the country Peter Mac purple and pink as you’ve all stepped or cycled out for Day 1 of Unite to Fight Cancer 2020.

Along with breaking a sweat today you have also helped raise nearly $100,000 to take us over $1.2 million! That is a truly remarkable effort and we’re very grateful for everything you are doing.

We’re looking out for your photos, stories and amazing achievements. And sending virtual hugs to Carly Monshing after your surgery today plus some soothing gel for Paul Rowe after 201km on Day 1!

A worldwide wonder

Not content with exploring the parks, streets, beaches and suburbs of VIC and further afield in Australia, you have been creating a global sensation!

While training for UNITE, you amazing people managed to clock up enough kms to go around the world OVER 7 TIMES!

And then on the first day of the challenge you’re nearly halfway round again. Inspiring stuff. KEEP IT UP!

Now does anyone know how to fix blisters? 😩 😭 😰

Spotlight on Kendra!

This is Kendra Vann, who’s been fundraising for Peter Mac for 8 years and has raised an incredible $25,000 for us over that time.

Kendra is taking on the walking challenge this year in honour of her father Kalev who lost his battle with stomach cancer. Kendra’s mum was also diagnosed with breast cancer, but thanks to the extensive research that’s been done, she’s now been given the all clear.

Best of luck with your challenge, Kendra – we’re all cheering for you!

A heartfelt thank you from all of us

14 October

After weeks of training, fundraising and preparation, we’re now officially at the start line for UNITE 2020. We’ll be bringing you the highlights each day as we all tackle the challenge.

Share your pics, progress and updates on social and in the Facebook group, using the hashtag #unitetofightcancer.

Two leading members of the Peter Mac UNITE cheer team are here to wish you well!


“I and the Peter Mac team can’t thank you enough for your support and generosity as part of Unite to Fight Cancer. It’s been so encouraging to see you all come together to provide inspiration and hope to all people affected by cancer.

“We want to wish you well on your challenge and remember, if you hit a moment where you begin to struggle, remember you have a community behind you that is supporting you every step of the way. So a huge thank you for challenging yourself to fund life-saving cancer research. Good luck and be safe!”

– Carl Young


“Hi everyone, Rachel here! It’s been really humbling to chat with many of you wonderful UNITERS!

“I wanted to wish you all the best of luck for the next 10 days. I’ll be with you every step and pedal of the way, so just let me know if you have any questions. Go for it and have a fantastic time!”

– Rachel Walker

Last year…

Over 3,200


over 25,600


over $1,850,000