Pounding the pavement for stomach cancer research

By Anna Grummitt

Mahmoud Chatila is an unstoppable 19-year-old from Melbourne who recently ran from Melbourne to Sydney in memory of his father who past away from stomach cancer one year ago.

May 19, 2012 was a symbolic day, as it marked the one year anniversary of his father’s death after a long battle with stomach cancer. Mahmoud ran to honour his father, and through donations raised nearly $22,000.

Mahmoud said the memory of his father helped him press on despite the pain he felt whilst running. “My body was in constant pain,” he said. “Mentally it was challenging as well, but I reminded myself why I was doing this – so that other people wouldn’t have to go through what Dad did. That’s what kept me going.”

Mahmoud also said his faith, and the support from his family, friends, and even people he had never met who posted messages on his Facebook and Everyday Hero pages gave him the motivation to carry on. “It’s amazing how far you can push your body when you’re surrounded by the right people and put your faith in God,” he said.

Mahmoud’s mother Jamal Chatila was very proud of her son’s achievement. “I tried many times to talk him out of it, but he is very determined and didn’t want anyone else to suffer like his Dad did,” she said. “One day we hope cancer will be just a star sign.”

Now that the run is over, Mahmoud is looking forward to resting his aching muscles. “It’s time to eat ice-cream and throw out my runners,” he concluded.

Thank you to Jenifer Dickinson photography for the images.