THOUSANDS of runners are participating in the Herald Sun/City Link Run For the Kids today, and a huge number of them will be dressed in white T-shirts and caps as members of the Live For Lily Team.
All 257 of them are running in honour of a special little girl, her family and the hospital that took care of her.
In 2013, Aaron and Sianne Hester’s daughter Lily, 8, complained of having a stomach ache.
Mr Hester said they had initially thought it was a virus, but a few weeks later an ultrasound revealed three tumours on her liver.
Lily started treatment with chemotherapy almost immediately, followed by several surgeries.
“(Mum) Sianne and I would rotate nights to be with her, and the boys (brothers Archer, now 6, and Oliver, now 9) would come in during the day — we were all just trying to survive really,” Mr Hester said.
In January 2014, Lily went into remission, yet two months later the cancer was back and untreatable. She died in August 2014.
Lily spent months of her battle in the care of nurses and doctors at the Royal Children’s Hospital, and Mr Hester said the support from the staff there meant so much to his family.
“Lil felt so comfortable with her favourite nurses — they just made it so much easier to really deal with things at some of our hardest times,” he said.
The family’s Live For Lily Foundation raises money for child cancer research.