Kylie Draper

Kylie Draper

I am running the Sydney Morning Herald half marathon to raise awareness about GI cancer, as my Godmother and Great Aunt Heather has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Devastating at any stage in life but for her it came just as she was about to enjoy retirement. I wanted to do something motivational and inspirational for her as I felt she would be facing this battle each and every day.

Given that Heather is doing much better than what she was 6 or so months ago I also hope that by doing this one in May I can also help her to get back into life as much as she is able to. Furthermore, each time I do the half marathon and sign up to fundraise I get the GI Institute name out in the public forum and I hope that by doing it I can also create awareness to others out there regarding GI cancers.

To my family, taking on the challenge of running a half marathon was a feat in itself as I am not runner; 12 months ago I couldn’t even run 5km. Since then I have participated in my first half marathon, the Blackmore’s half marathon in September last year and now the Sydney Morning Herald half marathon in May. Heather continues with her battle each and every day so I figured why stop at just one… If running a half marathon is hard for me to complete, then I can only imagine what Heather faces each day, both physically and mentally.

Being fit and healthy is also a big part of my life, particularly as I work in health as a speech pathologist. I enjoy majority of sports such as snowboarding, oz tag, touch, netball, squash and have since taken up running.

To prepare for the marathon my training regime includes cardio; such as bay runs that are about 7 kms; as well as the occasional long run, intervals on the treadmill, bike and other cardio machines.  I also do some strength and muscle work however this mainly involves core work. Last year for the Blackmore’s half marathon I was worried I wouldn’t make the distance, given my previous long distance running experience, so I did a specific long run of 22km a few weeks out from race day with the finish line being Heather’s front door.

Raising awareness for the GI Cancer Institute is very important given the nature of pancreatic cancer, along with the prognosis and limited treatment options. Like many people out there these days, cancer has impacted my life considerably.   My devoted grandmother died of cervical cancer aged 61 and an uncle from an inoperable brain tumour at 49.   Both my grandfather and uncle have also had prostate cancer.   Raising funds for cancer research is therefore essential.

Not only do I enjoy raising awareness and funds for GI Institute but the main reason I run is for Heather. I hope to continue to motivate and inspire her as she does to me. She is a very special and important person in my life.