Mums to walk for lost sons
ROBERT Black and Josh Allen were outgoing, bright young men. Both into sport, popular in the community, even a bit cheeky.
Both were diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a brain stem glioma, and in a little over a year the 21-year-old and 16-year-old were gone.
"It changed everyone's lives, nothing is the same," Josh's mother Julie Revis said.
Robert died five years ago, and Josh three.
The two mums met while Robert's mother Wendy was selling raffle tickets for the Walk for Brain Cancer in Sydney, in which she had participated twice.
"We discovered we had a lot in common, with the two boys having the same diagnosis," Ms Black said
"I'd already thought about doing a walk in the Clarence Valley, and so many people had come up to me saying how they'd been affected so I thought that I'd do it.
"Then I met Julie and I thought we'll definitely do it."
The pair is organising the Clarence Walk for Brain Cancer, to be held on Sunday, September 24.
It will start at 11am at Memorial Park along the riverbank to raise money for Dr Charlie Teo's Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.
"They say it's more of a movement than a walk," Ms Black said.
"It's us showing that we need support and the cause needs more funding.
"We're here to walk and get together and share our stories, but we're here as a movement to say come on we need help."
Robert was a champion shooter when he died and Josh was a talented soccer player.
Both mothers said the diagnosis came out of the blue.
"Josh had double vision and a bit of numbness in his mouth and couldn't swallow properly on and off, " Ms Revis said.
"It was the vision that went first. He was a goalkeeper and sometimes we'd say 'How did you miss that?' and he didn't know."
Ms Black said: "Robert was being treated for a virus for six weeks before we pushed the point that something else was wrong.
"It wasn't a virus, they thought it was until I pushed them for an MRI.
"Robert was cheeky, outgoing, you'd never think there was anything wrong."
Ms Revis said: "Josh had so many friends ... he hung out with all the different groups, he just mixed around.
"He played every sport, and enjoyed every bit of life."
Both women agreed there needed to be more done to raise money for brain cancer research.
"There's not enough research, there's no money," Ms Revis said.
"They tend to say that not many people die from this - but there's more children die from brain cancer than anything else."
Ms Black was convinced to join the Sydney Walk for Brain Cancer by one of Robert's friends, who had walked for him every year since his death.
"That first year of going to Sydney and seeing 2000 people with photos like ours on the back of their shirts - some babies and mothers - it really is hard, it really hurts.," Ms Black said.
"Julie's going to find it hard because, it doesn't mend anything, but it makes it feel like you're doing something for others.
Ms Revis said: "It will be hard, but every day is hard."
The Walk For Brain Cancer Clarence Valley will be on September 24.
You can sign up by visiting the Walk for Brain Cancer website.