Emma’s 21km Challenge

Earlier this year, Emma French had her heart set on running this year’s 21km Gold Coast Marathon in memory of her father who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2019. But due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the marathon was sadly cancelled.

Not letting that dampen her spirits, Emma decided to take on the 21km challenge on her own! On Sunday 5th July she ran from Brisbane City to her family home in Westlake, where family and friends were waiting to celebrate her amazing achievement.

“The day I decided that 21km was what I would attempt was actually my dad’s birthday (February 9th) which was exactly 21 weeks from the marathon date. This was also the number of weeks that Dad struggled with Pancreas cancer. With all the numbers lining up at 21, I knew there was no other option!”

Emma undertook some intense training to ensure she could successfully cross that finish line! Her training program consisted of 500km run over 100 sessions – all with the goal to get to 21km.

In addition to the run challenge, Emma set herself the target of raising $5,000 for vital pancreatic cancer research, “GI Cancer research and more specifically, pancreatic cancer research is extremely close to my heart. Anything that can help patients through this vicious cancer is a winner for me. Donating to a cause like the GI Cancer Institute who rely so heavily on community support is a no brainer!”

In May 2019, Emma’s father, Steve French was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was 21 weeks after his diagnosis that Steve lost his battle with cancer.

“My family and I have always been extremely close. Both Mum and Dad remained very positive throughout the whole process and Dad took every setback in his stride. He would spend hours researching his condition and talking us through all his medication.”

“Physically, Dad changed very quickly and quite dramatically after the Chemo began, mentally however he remained the strong, fun loving man that we all looked up to every day.”

“I will forever be grateful that my mum, my sister and I were right by his side over the last few days of his life. He knew we were with him and there was a huge sense of peace in the room the day he passed.”

One of Emma’s favourite memories of Steve was the trips they would take to craft breweries together to drink, be merry and spend quality time together, “We had a few favourite breweries that we would frequent together and would spend hours talking through the set up and the brewing process. Often dad would disappear and the next minute we would see him somewhere out the back, chatting away to the brewers. He would make new brewing friends everywhere we went!”

On 5 July, Emma not only successfully finished her 21km challenge but she also beat her fundraising goal!

We are so grateful for Emma’s support and dedication to honour her father by funding research to help others in the future.

To support new critical research in to improved treatments for GI cancers, like pancreatic cancer, please click here to donate (all donations are directed to research and no matter their size do make a difference – providing much needed hope for those diagnosed).