BIG TRIP: Ballina's Elisa Penn-Anderson at the Big Prawn as she and husband Ricky Anderson set out on a trip to visit big things as part of the #bigthingsforbraincancer awareness campaign. Picture posted to the Advocate's Facebook page Photo Contributed
BIG TRIP: Ballina's Elisa Penn-Anderson at the Big Prawn as she and husband Ricky Anderson set out on a trip to visit big things as part of the #bigthingsforbraincancer awareness campaign. Picture posted to the Advocate's Facebook page Photo Contributed Contributed

Doing big things for brain cancer while on the road

RICKY Anderson and his wife Elisa Penn-Anderson have big reason to enjoy their time on the road at the moment.

The trip from Ballina to Swan Hill and return for the Ballina couple was Elisa's idea - and she wants to visit as many Big Things they can find.

It's also most probably one of the last big road trips they will be able to do together, and they are using the tour to raise awareness for a disease which may one day take Elisa's life.

The 32-year-old was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour while living in England over two years ago.

She had been in remission from a previous brain tumour which was removed when she was aged 9.

Ricky said the latest prognosis by doctors in England was that Elisa had "a matter of weeks" so the couple moved in November 2013 to Ballina where Elisa's parents live, and she is continuing her treatment locally.

Elisa has travelled extensively around the world, but not so much in her own backyard.

She wanted to take the two-week road trip to see more of Australia.

The idea then came up to be photographed with Big Things, and add the hashtag #bigthingsforbraincancer to the pictures on social media to raise awareness of the disease.

The Australian Government's Cancer Australia webpage says about 1820 Australians - 1080 men and 740 women - are expected to be diagnosed with brain cancer this year.

But there is no screening test available.

Ricky said Elisa saw the road trip as "an opportunity to see Big Things along the way as a bit of fun".

The trip hasn't been easy for Elisa and Ricky because of Elisa's health.

But Ricky said the pair was enjoying their time together.

"We didn't expect to have had the time together we had anyway, so we've made the most of it," Ricky said.

Host of the Ten Network's The Project and Gold Logie winner Carrie Bickmore made headlines earlier this year by starting the #beaniesforbraincancer campaign in her Logies' award acceptance speech.

That further inspired Elisa, who also is honouring a friend from her university days who has passed away with brain cancer.

The couple is travelling in a Subaru Liberty wagon, with a trailer for Elisa's wheelchair and other medical equipment.

Friend Amy Bennett from Swan Hill also is travelling with the couple, with the trio staying in motels.

So far, they have visited the Big Prawn, the Big Windmill at Coffs Harbour, the Big Oyster at Taree, the Big Kookaburra at Kurri Kurri and the Big Merino at Goulburn, and more.

They are encouraging others to upload photos of themselves at Big Things, with the hashtag #bigthingsforbraincancer.



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