SAHMRI’s research and the BRIGHT Walk is lighting the way to medical breakthroughs

SAHMRI’s important research is funded by generous supporters who participate in events like the BRIGHT Walk.

In the heart of Adelaide, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) is working tirelessly to solve the mysteries of disease and improve lives. From inside SA’s iconic ‘Cheese Grater’ building on North Terrace, SAHMRI’s research has helped countless individuals overcome challenges and embrace healthier futures. This important work is funded by generous supporters who participate in events like the BRIGHT Walk; a unique winter evening event that raises funds for SAHMRI’s mission.

The 11km SAHMRI BRIGHT Walk, which is coming up on July 6th, is a fundraising challenge which generates important funds to fuel groundbreaking medical research that changes lives. The BRIGHT Walk happens after dark, when the city is lit up for Illuminate Adelaide, and at its most beautiful. With food and drink (and wine) stops, entertainment and more across the route, it’s an engaging way to experience the wonder of Adelaide, with a short, manageable walk. It’s about half as long as in previous years, encouraging more people to participate, or donate.

We’ve learnt about the stories of three individuals whose lives have been transformed by SAHMRI’s groundbreaking medical research, supported by the fundraising efforts of the BRIGHT Walk.

Decades of defying the odds – Ian’s story

Ian has defied the odds for 26 years since his cancer diagnosis in May 1997. Battling non-secretory multiple myeloma, a rare and difficult-to-monitor form of the disease, Ian was initially given a five-year prognosis. Despite undergoing aggressive treatments, including full-body radiation that complicated his monitoring, Ian entered remission after a stem cell transplant and remained cancer-free for 18 years. His relapse led to innovative drug therapies, and he has since become an advocate for research advancements, collaborating with SAHMRI and supporting initiatives aimed at improving detection and treatment. Ian’s resilience and positive outlook have made him an inspiration within the myeloma community, proving that with research and support, this disease can be managed and even overcome.

Pushing through pain – Gary’s story

Another individual whose life has been touched by SAHMRI’s research is 82-year-old Gary McDonald. Gary suddenly found himself struggling with debilitating hip and back pain, which significantly impacted his active lifestyle and his ability to enjoy time with his eight grandchildren. The chronic pain weakened his sense of purpose and left him feeling “useless.” Despite this, Gary remains hopeful, drawing strength from the knowledge that Professor Stuart Brierley and his team at SAHMRI are tirelessly searching for solutions to pain management. Gary’s experience highlights the importance of research in addressing chronic conditions and improving the quality of life for those affected.

Outliving past generations – Terry’s story

Retired high school principal Terry Tierney, 81, also has a story to tell. Terry comes from a family with a history of stroke, and his own genetic predisposition to cardiovascular disease (CVD) was revealed during a doctor’s visit in 1991. His father and two cousins died of strokes, and Terry was determined to avoid the same fate. He made significant lifestyle changes and closely monitored his diet, but his cholesterol levels continued to rise. Statins helped manage his condition, and Terry attributes his longevity to a combination of research, lifestyle modifications, and access to medication. Working closely with SAHMRI cardiovascular health researcher, Associate Professor Christina Bursill, Terry has gained valuable knowledge about medical research and is now a strong advocate for continued funding and support.

The BRIGHT Walk plays an important role in funding SAHMRI’s research. Every step taken and every dollar raised brings us closer to a future where diseases are conquered and lives are improved. The funds support a wide range of initiatives and researchers like A/Prof Christina Bursill. Her team is generating and pursuing innovative ideas about how to identify and treat heart disease. While funds also aid researchers like Professor Stuart Brierley who is investigating the causes of chronic pain and developing treatments for conditions that affect five million Australians and many more people worldwide.

By participating in the BRIGHT Walk, creating a fundraising team, or making a donation, you can make a real difference in the lives of individuals like Ian, Gary, and Terry. Your support will contribute to groundbreaking research, leading to new treatments, diagnostic tools, and preventive strategies. Join the movement for a brighter, healthier tomorrow, and together, we can illuminate the path to a future where everyone can thrive.

To join the BRIGHT Walk, click here.
For more information on SAHMRI, click here.

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