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Dellacqua Rallies Behind Cystic Fibrosis

Casey Dellacqua has taken time out from her doubles campaign at the Australian Open to support a cause that is close to her heart..

Published January 24, 2013 11:56

Dellacqua Rallies Behind Cystic Fibrosis
Casey Dellacqua

MELBOURNE, Australia - Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua's run all the way to the final of the doubles completion at the Australian Open has been one of the fortnight's feel good stories.

After a disappointing first week showing for the home nation in singles, the improbable progress of the teenage prodigy and her experienced partner has really captured the public's imagination in Melbourne Park.

For Dellacqua, Friday's final against top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci is a welcome return to the big time after seeing her career derailed for a few years by major surgery to first her shoulder and then her right foot.

However, a family member's ongoing battle to overcome a far more challenging obstacle has enabled the 27-year-old to put her own travails into perspective.

Dellacqua's cousin, Kaila Thomas, was born with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a life-shortening genetic disorder, and recently underwent a double lung transplant.

"It's huge. For me tennis is my job, tennis is my business and it's my life, but in the end everything that matters is family and friends," Dellacqua said.

While Thomas is still on her road to recovery, she is currently in Melbourne supporting her cousin's quest for Grand Slam glory.

"Kaila and I are the same age, our mums are sisters and we grew up doing everything together," Dellacqua added. "She was born with CF so we know exactly what's involved with it and how it affects everyone.

"The fact she's here, watching me in the doubles, it's actually quite amazing. She hasn't been able to leave Perth for three years."

On Tuesday, Dellacqua took some time away from the practice court to help launch the '65km for Cystic Fibrosis' walk. The walk will be held in Royal Park and Princes Park in Melbourne on Saturday, March 2, with all proceeds going towards CF research at Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

"I've grown up seeing what it is like living with CF, so am passionate about raising awareness and funds," Dellacqua said. "It would be fantastic for people to get behind my cousin and other CF patients by getting involved in the 65km walk."

For more information on the '65km for Cystic Fibrosis' walk, please visit www.65kmforCF.com.au.

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