In 1994 when Alana Pirrone was just eight-years-old she lost her mother to breast cancer. Four years later she started a family tradition that would span 20 years and three generations.
The 30-year-old from Strathmore in Victoria has attended all 20 Women in Super Mother’s Day Classics and each year runs in honour of her mum Patricia, and since 2015 has added her late boss Elizabeth Waters to her thoughts on Mother’s Day.
“Both women were amazing, wonderful, kind people who are missed every day. This day is made even more special to me now that I am a mother myself. My two-year-old son Blake will attend his third MDC event this year which, with my dad, will mark three generations of our family participating in the event,” she said.
Ms Pirrone’s first Mother’s Day Classic was spent with her mother’s cousins, they had heard about the event and encouraged her and her sister to attend.
That first year and every year since helped her get through a day that had always reminded her of what she’d lost, and what everyone else seemed to have still.
“Mother’s Day has always been a tough day for me. I think what makes it especially hard is the lead up to Mother’s Day when you are bombarded with ads on television about how special mum is and ‘don’t forget to spoil her this Mother’s Day,” she said. “Being able to do the Mother’s Day Classic has given me a sense of purpose on a day that I would rather forget,” she said.
The opportunity to raise money for breast cancer research, while at the same time being surrounded by other families who have endured the touch of breast cancer is something Ms Pirrone takes comfort from.
“The day is even more special now that my son Blake joins us. This will be his third MDC, and I want him to grow up and know that we do this every year for his Nonna Patricia. Mother’s Day will never be breakfast in bed for us; it will be up at 6 am ready to run 8km,” Ms Pirrone said.
Since 2000 she’s been joined on the day by her father, who she describes as her rock.
“My Dad is the most supportive lovely man you could ever meet and together we keep my mum’s memory alive. This will be Blake’s third year in the event; he has just turned two,” she said. “Dad and I take turns pushing him in the pram along the run!”
For Mrs Pirrone running at the Mother’s Day Classic is the only way she could ever imagine spending Mother’s Day. It’s a day she can honour and celebrate the memory of her mother while raising much-needed funds for breast cancer research, the entire time surrounded by women and families who have been impacted by breast cancer.
“It’s almost therapeutic! Also knowing each year we are raising more money which means we are getting closer and closer to finding a cure is motivating,” she said. “The event is special. It’s now part of our routine every Mother’s Day.”