When Jade Walker’s friend Libby was diagnosed with a gastro-intestinal (GI) cancer last year, Jade decided she wanted to do something big.
“The little things we do for people with cancer just didn’t seem like enough,” she says. To show her support, Jade took on the Melbourne marathon – it was her first long-distance run and she only had seven weeks to train.
“Having Libby as motivation was what got me through,” she says. “If she can go through everything that she’s gone through, I’m just putting one foot in front of the other, that’s nothing.”
Last year, Jade raised almost $3,000 for GI cancer research, and met Libby at the finish line.
“I promised Libby last year that I would do it again for her,” she says. This year, Jade is taking on a bigger challenge – the Surfcoast Century, a 100km ultramarathon along Victoria’s surf coast.
“Last year I think the reason that it went well in the little time that I had was because it was a bit crazy,” she says. “This year I thought I’d better step it up so I get the same reaction.”
She says that for her, the run itself is a way of showing her support for what Libby has gone through, and potentially helping other families affected by GI cancers. “I think that knowing how aggressive the cancer has been with my friend and how sudden it was, it hits you,” she says. “It’s something that I’d never heard of before until she was diagnosed.”
“It’s a privilege for me to be able to do it,” she says. “Libby actually donated the other day, and said, ‘It helps other families go through what we’re going through.’ Seeing at this stage in her cancer, that she’s still thinking of other families, it’s the least I could do.”
To learn more or support Jade, go to www.gicancer.org.au/Jade.