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Wallan woman running to raise funds for cancer foundation

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A WALLAN woman is set to take part in a 50km run next month, aiming to raise awareness and funds for Neuroendocrine Cancer Australia, NECA.

Sharon Rickard was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer in 2015 but considers herself lucky to have been diagnosed relatively early, helped by a general practitioner who was determined to give a correct diagnosis and support her recovery.

“During the process of my diagnosis I was a regular in the doctor’s waiting room after work,” she said.

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“I had symptoms that I couldn’t explain very well and didn’t know if anything would come of it.

“I would think ‘maybe I should be at home with my husband and then three-year-old after being at work instead.’”

Neuroendocrine cancers, NETs, are a complex group of tumours that most commonly develop in the digestive or respiratory tracts, arising from neuroendocrine cells that work to create, store and secrete a variety of peptides and hormones.

NETs are frequently misdiagnosed with conditions such as anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome or diabetes, and 60 per cent of NETs are advanced or stage four by the time patients are correctly diagnosed.

Neuroendocrine cancer was the seventh most diagnosed cancer in 2021, with more than 5100 Australians diagnosed annually and a further 22,000 people suspected to be living with it.

Ms Rickard said she hoped to use her interest in running to help raise awareness for NETs and raise funds for NECA.

“This will be my first ultra-marathon and I’m doing the 50 kilometres because that’s what it is for most NET patients, getting a diagnosis can take a long time, even five to seven years,” she said.

Ms Rickard said she was thankful her doctor took her seriously, and was now looking to make the most of the opportunities she had been given.

“I believed [the doctor] was doing the right thing and I’m glad we both stuck at it,” she said.

“I’m not expecting to win the race or anything, I’ll be happy to be in the photos at the finish with a smile.

“I’m just happy to be able to do what I want to do.”

Ms Rickard will be running at the Stromlo Running Festival in Canberra on March 5, 2022.

Donations to help with the fundraiser for NECA are greatly appreciated, and corporate sponsors who donate $250 and over will have their logos worn by Ms Rickard on the run.

To make a donation and for more information on Ms Rickard’s story, visit

For more information on neuroendocrine cancer and NECA, visit

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