RUN AS 1: Clare Pullen has been instrumental in helping to raise more than $100,000 for cystic fibrosis research.
RUN AS 1: Clare Pullen has been instrumental in helping to raise more than $100,000 for cystic fibrosis research. Ashley Pillhofer

Mackay girl's idea raises $100k for research into disease

WHAT started three years ago as a 16-year-old girl trying to help her little cousin has turned into an annual event responsible for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for cystic fibrosis research.

Clare Pullen started the Run as 1 event in 2016. Now 18, Ms Pullen said she still can't believe how big the event became as the community rallied around it.

"Knowing that my cousin had the disorder and realising the disease was going to be fatal by the time she was middle aged, that was really confronting and really upset me," she said.

"I knew something had to be done about it."

Ms Pullen's mum Kim McPherson has been instrumental in working to raise money for research undertaken by Cystic Fibrosis Australia.

She said over the course of the three years more than $110,000 has been raised in Mackay under the Run as 1 banner.

This year alone, the group will make a donation of $57,500. This year, Ms Pullen relocated to Townsville, where she is studying medicine, to undertake her studies. Because of this, she said she has had to step back from the event.

"To come back and be there on the day I saw what a well run event it was and how well supported it is," she said.

"I was in tears, I can't even explain how much it means to me."

CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Australia Nettie Burke said Clare and Run as 1 supporters in Mackay are the organisation's biggest fund-raisers.

"Clare's dedication and commitment to creating, organising and participating in 'Run as 1 for CF', all in honour of her cousin Karlie, is nothing short of inspiring," Ms Burke said.

"We are so grateful to Clare, her team of supporters and the entire Mackay community ... they are our biggest fundraiser." Ms Pullen said her experience establishing Run as 1 and getting to know families living with cystic fibrosis had pushed her into studying medicine.

Both Ms Pullen and her mum are confident a cure to the debilitating disorder is not far away, which is why they are so driven to help fund research.

Ms McPherson said many families touched by the disease have hope that research pathways will produce a cure.

"The reality is that a cure is almost there for some sufferers and the research is ongoing. It will happen," she said.



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