Marathon effort for sick friend

Katie Dregers

By Esther Lauaki

Katie Dregers is described by her loved ones as the “life of the party”.

That’s why her friends, family and wider community are throwing their support behind the Diggers Rest netballer who is fighting a rare and aggressive form of brain and spinal cancer.

A brain tumour was discovered nearly a year ago after Katie fell at work.

In a devastating blow earlier this month, another tumour, believed to be where the cancer originated, was found in the 25 year-old’s spine.

Her best friends Erin Surkitt, Shelby Strong, Renee Mowatt and Amy Schwegler will run the Melbourne Marathon in October to raise money for Katie’s expenses and raise awareness about the type of astrocytoma that she has.

Ms Surkitt, who launched an online crowdfunding campaign that has raised more than $7000 in less than a month, said Katie was in good spirits as she undergoes treatment.

“She has severe short-term memory loss and she has to relearn how to do everything from eating to walking,” she said. “There’s not a lot of awareness [of astrocytoma] so our aim is to raise awareness by telling people about Katie.

“We want people to look at us and know that we are running for her.

“If she can’t walk, we’ll walk for her.”

She said the women were brought together through their friendship with Katie.

“Katie has always been the life of the party, with a drink in hand and a story to tell,” Ms Surkitt said.

“We met through netball years ago and we’ve been inseparable since then.

“She soon became a very important person to not only myself but a wide community of people’s lives.”