Deborah tells of her real-life battle with breast cancer

BRIGHTON Council’s annual Volunteers and Australia Day Awards Civic Reception at the Brighton Civic Centre heard about one woman’s efforts to raise awareness of breast cancer while fighting her own battle with the disease.

Woolworths Australia Day Ambassador Deborah De Williams told the gathering not only of her efforts in raising awareness of breast cancer and the need for breast cancer research, but of her own real life battle.

This year’s event was attended by more than 100 invited guests with Mayor Tony Foster formally welcoming everyone with his Australia Day message, before introducing the Woolworths Australia Day Ambassador Ms De Williams.

Deborah was named Tasmania’s Australian of the Year two years ago.  At the time of her nomination she was running around Australia raising money for breast cancer research and awareness.

From left, Mayor Tony Foster, Flynn Dutton, Wayne Garlick, Woolworths Australia Day ambassador, Deborah De Williams, Marie Bennett, Damian Williams, Tennille Murtagh with Natilea Lovell and Maggie the dog.



She was the first woman to walk around Australia to raise funds for Kids Help Line and she broke five world records in the process.  When she returned home from this walk she discovered that she had breast cancer which required some intensive treatment.

While many would sit back and take a breather and reflect on life, not Deborah. She then decided to raise funds for breast cancer research by running around Australia.

New citizens Ken Emms, and Felix Ekeh with Mayor Tony Foster.

In 2006 Deborah set up a not-for-profit organisation called Running Pink.  This organisation raises money for breast cancer research and awareness.

In 2008 she set off around Tasmania’s picturesque East Coast and was half way around Australia when ‘Maggie’ her ever-faithful dog tripped Deborah over in the Northern Territory.  Deborah broke her left foot but kept running to Darwin, some 800 kilometres away and of course she ended up with a stress fracture, which required surgery in Melbourne.

On that journey Deborah raised more than $100,00 for breast cancer research.

In 2010 Deborah headed West this time and on October 4 became the first female to run around the country.  Her dog Maggie also ran with her and is now the first dog to run around Australia!

Deborah is an amazing Australia whose passion to raise funds for breast cancer research comes from a genuine desire to help others.  I’m sure there is not one person here that doesn’t know someone or has a family member that has had breast cancer.

During Deborah’s run, Running Pink raised more than $220,000.

Deborah was presented with the Australia Day Ambassador pin from Woolworths representative Jacob Nuttall of Green Point Woolworths.

Cr Foster announced the winners of the Australia Day Awards and Deborah handed recipients their awards.  This year’s recipients are: Community Event of Year: White Ribbon Day; Volunteer of the Year, Wayne Garlick; Young Citizen of the Year, Flynn Dutton and Citizens of the Year, Natilea Lovell and Tennille Murtagh.