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Smiddy Committee excited for event

Friday 09 October 2020

Smiddy Fun Run organising committee members and PA Hospital (PAH) staff members Angela O'Connor and Tony Pratt are excited to see how the first-ever Smiddy Fun Week will be received.

Taking place during national Skin Cancer Action Week 15 to 21 November, Smiddy Fun Week participants can take part on their own or create a team with friends, family, and colleagues, and walk, run, swim or cycle after the fun run moved to a virtual format this year so participants could remain socially distanced.

Raising funds for skin cancer research in memory of former PAH Physiotherapist Adam Smiddy, who passed away from melanoma in 2006, the event and offers something for everyone with challenges ranging from 25kms in 7 days or 10 laps of the 2019 Smiddy Fun Run course, right up to 75kms or 30 laps of the course for the keen athletes.

Physiotherapist Tony and principal educational officer Angela agreed that Adam Smiddy himself would have been quick to sign up for similar events given his love of triathlon.

Smiddy organising committee members Angela O'Connor and Tony Pratt

"Adam would have absolutely loved the idea of Smiddy Fun Week, it would have been right up his alley," Angela said.

"When the fun run started Adam's father, David said, "he would have loved this event being in his name. It was exactly what he would have liked"," Tony said.

It was through Adam's love of competing in triathlons that both PAH staff members came to know him best, with his popularity among the wider triathlon and PA Hospital community leading to the establishment of the very first event in 2006.

"Adam was training at the University of Queensland in the triathlete squad over there, and I met him at the swim sessions. He was a quiet kind of guy, then I'd see him around here at the PA," Angela said.

"I knew he was a physio here, he was a quiet, unassuming fellow, but always very polite and lovely. When he passed away, I did the first Smiddy Fun Run, and I thought I should get involved and help."

"When Adam passed away, the director of physio at that stage was Kathy Grudzinskas, and at the time she said, "Look, that was a big shock to staff. Having someone fit and healthy and pass away while here'," Tony said.

"Let's do something positive, let's organize a fun run and we'll raise some money for research at the same time."

Tony and Angela are hopeful the same people who've taken part in the fun run will take up the Smiddy Fun Week challenge this year.

Tony said a huge positive that has come from the annual event outside of raising more than $90,000 for skin cancer research has been educating staff about the PA Research Foundation and what it offers the PAH Community.

"The event has been good for the staff physio department, as well as other areas, especially new staff, because they realise there is a research branch and learn about how it helps the hospital and also that there's funding available," Tony said.

"The Foundation has really helped our department over the years.

"There's still quite a number of staff, and a lot of the physio department, that all know the story of Adam, he was young and healthy, but it was cancer, which is just such a terrible disease.

"I guess it's now it's 14 years on and obviously we're having to shift a little bit this year. But you just hope that it continues and slowly grows every year as a fundraiser and a way to remember Adam."

Registration for Smiddy Fun Week is just $10. Register or donate to Smiddy Fun Week here.