By Steph McNicol
COVID-19 restrictions have made it difficult to pay tribute to loved ones who have died, but Kristi Gilbert is doing her best to raise awareness for breast cancer.
After her ‘beautiful friend’ Rebecca Harrison died in April from breast cancer, Ms Gilbert decided she would do her part to fundraise for the cause while also raising awareness.
Unable to pay tribute at Ms Harrison’s funeral due to COVID-19 limitations, Ms Gilbert will walk 10,000 steps each day this month to gather donations for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
“We lived in the same block of units, and when Bec got diagnosed in September last year, we became a lot closer,” Ms Gilbert said.
“She was just such a bright and bubbly person; everyone was just drawn to her. A few people commented that the world felt a bit darker that day [when she passed].
“Before she died, she was donating lots of money into all different community groups and women’s groups.
“All she wanted to do was give back to the community that she worked and lived in, and that supported her.”
Ms Harrison worked at Bendigo Bank, and alternated between Romsey and Lancefield branches, where she greeted everyone with a smile – a smile they wouldn’t forget.
Ms Gilbert said Ms Harrison was leaving behind her two dogs, Roxy and Pebbles, and a whole community of friends who truly treasured her.
“Her friends were her family, and even my children thought of her like an aunty. She had little dogs that were basically her kids,” she laughed.
Ms Gilbert said it was unfortunate the community was unable to gather together to celebrate and remember Ms Harrison.
“She died right in the height of COVID-19 lockdown, so everyone was isolating at that time,” she said.
“I couldn’t spend time with her or say a proper goodbye, but we are still planning to remember Bec properly when we can get together and things are back to normal.
“This fundraiser is my way to give back to Bec.”
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, it is estimated there will be 19,974 breast cancer cases diagnosed in 2020.
People wanting to donate in support of Ms Gilbert’s cause can visit her tribute page on the National Breast Cancer Foundation website.