In December 2013 my husband Ben (aka “Johnda”) was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. He is only 38 and with 2 young children aged 1 and 3 we were completely shocked that we would be dealing with something like this so early in life.
We knew very little about brain cancer. Brain cancer kills more children in Australia than any other cancer or disease. It also kills more people under 40 in Australia than any other cancer. Brain cancer is shockingly underfunded and only receives 3% of federal government cancer research funding.
About a month after diagnosis I felt like I needed to do something positive in a situation that felt so utterly negative. So I said goodbye to the couch potato in me and started running with the idea I could get healthy and fundraise for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation at the same time. My aim was to raise $1000 to run/walk the 10km course at The Age Run Melbourne.
I could barely run 100m when I first started running in February. It was horrible and everything wibble wobbled after having 2 children and doing little exercise. It was hard having to push a pram while training, but every day I felt stronger and healthier and I knew I needed to do it for my family and myself after being told that I may be raising our babies by myself in the not too distant future. Running is also an amazing therapy for me now.
Soon many beautiful friends and family got on board, we are very lucky to be surrounded by such amazing and thoughtful people. It makes it extra special to see everyone else making such positive changes to their own lives too. Ben even decided to do the 10km course despite undergoing 2 surgeries on his brain, 7 weeks of radiotherapy and ongoing chemotherapy every month.
July 26th was a very special day for us. Melbourne put on a freakishly beautiful day for ‘Run Melbourne’ and we all ran our hearts out to raise money and awareness for brain cancer.
We ended up with 115 team members in “Johnda’s Joggers” and raised a whopping $50,000 for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. I don’t think any of us can believe it still. Cure Brain Cancer Foundation actually raised a total of $280,000 that day and smashed all previous records for money raised at a running event in Australia. We are so happy to have been able to do our bit.
I was also pumped to run the full 10km, and my amazing hubby did too (and beat me by 6 minutes!). It just shows what you can achieve when you set your mind to it! I guess that is really why I am sharing our story – you can achieve anything if you put the effort in. You can make a difference.
Next year we plan to do another big fundraiser and I aim to do the half marathon, but in the meantime we are training for the 15km City2Sea next month. I can’t wait!
You can read more about our journey here www.johndasjoggers.com
Please have a look at www.curebraincancer.org.au and share our story to help raise awareness. Awareness is the key to increasing funding, which will one day (soon I hope) result in a cure.