RENT Williams is running away from breast cancer — and he's earning $1 for each dash. Inspired by a close family friend who has been battling the disease, the 18-year-old Penrith Cricket Club first grader came up with Brent's Blast Against Breast Cancer fund-raising initiative which he launched at Howell Oval on Tuesday.
Across the 2012/2013 season, his club will donate $1 to the McGrath Foundation for each run he scores while local businesses who sponsor him will also contribute $1 per run to the fund-raiser.
"Mum came home from work one day when I was home and she said one of our family friends has got breast cancer," Williams said.
"So then I was at work sitting on the mower and it just sort of came to me — I'm going to get behind it."
Cue a conversation with the club's marketing manager, Mathew Thompson, and his equipment sponsor, John Rennie of Sommers, and Williams' idea was transformed into an active campaign with specially made pink playing bats ready to help the all-rounder reach his target of 800 runs.
With the support of as many local businesses as possible, Williams hopes to raise at least $5000 by the end of the season.
The illness of his family friend is the first time he's been personally affected by breast cancer and he said it was confronting to realise it was no longer "always going to be other people who get it".
"You just think people I know are never going to get it. Because they're so healthy, there's no chance of them getting it," he said.
"But it sort of goes, well, this is the real world, isn't it?"
One vocal and notable supporter of Williams' fund-raising efforts is Australian cricket legend Glenn McGrath, who attended the launch and praised Williams' inspiring character and initiative.
"To have a young fella like Brent Williams want to get out there and support the foundation I think is absolutely incredible," McGrath said.
"I always tell people if you want to be like everyone else, do what everyone else does.
"If you want to be a little bit better, a little bit different, stand out from the pack, then you've got to do something different and Brent is definitely doing that."
Upon learning that McGrath, whom he had never met, would attend the launch, Williams said his smile was impossible to erase from his face.
"It was a surreal feeling," he said.
"And now he's finally here, you just find yourself saying how good is this?"