Marathon for breast can­cer

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By John Harold

Dawn Cleary was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer just 10 months af­ter her mum died of the ill­ness and knew she had to “get on and get it fixed”.

Now she is do­ing her bit to help oth­ers in the same po­si­tion by tak­ing part in next month’s Christchurch half marathon to raise funds for the Breast Can­cer Foun­da­tion.

Mrs Cleary found the tu­mour her­self but at first thought it was some­thing else.

“I could have quite eas­ily over­looked it be­cause I had a pain and felt a thick­en­ing – not a lump,” she says.

“I fig­ured it was a mus­cle strain but thought I had bet­ter check it out.

Be­ing di­ag­nosed with can­cer so soon af­ter her mother’s death was hard on her fam­ily.

“It was prob­a­bly harder on ev­ery­body else than it was for me be­cause I knew I had to get on and get it fixed,” she says.

Mrs Cleary had two op­er­a­tions and eight weeks of ra­dio­ther­apy in Syd­ney at the end of 2007.

“What I like to say is: ‘I have been treated for can­cer, I will be­come a sur­vivor’.”

Her ex­pe­ri­ence shows how im­por­tant early de­tec­tion is.

“It is the best pro­tec­tion and I think it has to be fore­most in peo­ple’s minds,” she says.

“If I had left it six months it would have been a com­pletely dif­fer­ent story.

“Any lumps, any pains ... you act on them straight away.”

Mrs Cleary found out about the half marathon be­cause she works for Cookie Time – the or­gan­i­sa­tion that spon­sors the event.

The com­pany is pay­ing her en­try fees.

“It’s hard to get di­rec­tion and fo­cus back and I ac­tu­ally found by com­mit­ting my­self to this I had both.

“All of a sud­den I was mo­ti­vated to get out there. It’s a good thing, it’s a feel good fac­tor.”

Mrs Cleary has com­peted in events like the 21km half marathon but not for about 15 years.

She stepped up her train­ing in Fe­bru­ary and now trains five or six days a week.

Hus­band Neal will also take part in the event and will run be­side her.

Mrs Cleary set out to raise $2000 for the foun­da­tion but has re­ceived about $3000 in do­na­tions.

“I’m ab­so­lutely amazed with the sup­port and gen­eros­ity of peo­ple,” she says.

“They have all just blown me away with their gen­eros­ity.

“It’s amaz­ing there are a lot of good peo­ple out there and it’s a great cause of course.

“Any­thing we can raise for re­search is all good and they are mak­ing great strides with that.”

Email Mrs Cleary at dawn­cleary@cook ietime.co.nz or call her on 027-235-0835 if you want to sup­port her fundrais­ing ef­forts.

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