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Women at Work: Amanda Fintan

Sophia Bouzas

When Amanda Fintan’s good friend, Sarah Malamai, was diagnosed with a malignant brain cancer nine years ago, her life was turned upside down.

“It was the worst of the worst, a GBM grade 4.  Sarah was only given three months to live,” Amanda explains. “She was 33 years old with two young sons and a loving husband,”

“When Sarah was told that her cancer was inoperable and incurable, she made an appointment to see Professor Charlie Teo, who told her that while it was as ugly as it gets, he was willing to operate. He operated on Sarah, hoping that she would get some extra quality time with her family. I’m not sure he thought that Sarah would still be here to tell the tale nine years on.”

After Sarah’s surgeries, and once she had started regular treatment, she decided to set a goal – something that would take her mind off her diagnosis and give her a goal to work towards. So naturally she decided that she would trek the Kokoda Trail.

Sarah and Amanda doing the Kokoda Trail

Sarah and Amanda doing the Kokoda Trail

“When Sarah asked me if I would trek Kokoda with her, I didn’t hesitate. I went home and told my husband to get into training as we were going to trek Kokoda in four-month’s time,” Amanda says.

“It was 12 months after Sarah’s initial diagnosis when we did the trek. She was still undergoing chemotherapy at this time. Whenever I wanted to complain about my hips, knees, or lack of fitness, I just looked at my dear friend and drew inner strength from her. It was an amazing honour to have shared this experience with my inspiring friend.”

Sadly, Sarah lost five close friends to the same cruel disease that she had been diagnosed with. Being in the small 5% of survivors who live beyond 5 years, Sarah decided to honour her friends’ memories. Enter: Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and Brainstorm for a Cure, the event Amanda is in charge of running for the second year in a row, aimed at raising funds for brain cancer research.

“Given my background in event management, Sarah came to me and asked if I would help her. Of course, I didn’t hesitate. Our goal was to raise awareness, raise funds for research, and most importantly to give hope,” Amanda says.

The 2015 Brainstorm for a Cure: Party for HOPE

The 2015 Brainstorm for a Cure: Party for HOPE

“Event management for a charitable organisation isn’t for the faint-hearted. But it helps when you’re super passionate about the cause you are working for,” says Amanda.

Brain Cancer kills more children in Australia than any other disease and is the highest killing cancer in adults under 40.

“Cure Brain Cancer Foundation is dedicated to accelerating the development of new treatments to increase five-year survival to 50% by 2023. Currently, only two in ten people survive brain cancer for five years or more.”

For the third year in a row, Cure Brain Cancer is hosting their ‘Party for HOPE’.

Amanda and Professor Charlie Teo

Amanda and Professor Charlie Teo

“This year we have had a wonderful amount of interest with Brainstorm and the fact that we’ve sold out, with 800 people attending, when there was still over a month to go, shows that people are listening and want to join forces to make change happen,” says Amanda. “I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the support and I can’t wait for all of the Brainstorm party people to share in this Winter Wonderland party for HOPE.”

While the event has completely sold out, people and businesses can still support by donating prizes for auctions and other fundraising initiatives on the night.

While Amanda is not one to talk about herself, Sarah was not shy to show how amazing Amanda really is.

Amanda and Sarah at Brainstorm for a Cure: Party for HOPE 2015

Amanda and Sarah at Brainstorm for a Cure: Party for HOPE 2015

“Amanda and I have been great friends for over 20 years. She’s an incredibly supportive and encouraging person. When I had the crazy idea of trekking Kokoda she and her husband, David, were the first ones to sign up to come along,” she says. “It was the same with Brainstorm, I had a huge, seemingly impossible idea and Amanda made it reality – an incredibly successful reality.”

“She’s taken Brainstorm to a new, very professional level whilst, importantly to me, retaining the party atmosphere and the heart and soul of it. I love and admire Amanda very much – how she fits in everything she does boggles my mind,” says Sarah.

Find out more about supporting Brainstorm for a Cure: A Party for HOPE by donating prizes or auction items here.

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Sophia Bouzas

Sophia is a local Canberra girl half way through her Public Relations/Law degree. But when she’s not studying, paralegal-ing or interning for the lovely team at HerCanberra, you will probably find her enjoying Canberra’s selection of cafes, watching cheesy romantic comedies with a tea in hand or planning her next adventure. More about the Author

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