Dad’s run for cancer
THREE thousand is a significant number for the Mason family.
It is the number of kilometres trekked back and forth to Starship children’s hospital for daughter Hayley’s cancer treatments. It’s also the distance her dad will run this year in recognition of her bravery.
Dave Mason kicked off his challenge on March 4 – the day Hayley finished her eighth and final cycle of treatment for lymphoma.
He will be fundraising for the Child Cancer Foundation along the way.
Mason plans to tackle three marathons as part of the 3000km, in memory of three children who went through their treatment at the same time as Hayley but didn’t make it.
He says his daughter has been a ‘‘trooper’’ throughout her treatment, which has lasted more than two years.
‘‘She has maintained a positive approach . . . her mum Karen and I are very proud of the way she has handled herself.’’
Hayley was diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, in 2012.
She developed a red and swollen face which the family thought was due to an allergy but turned out to be caused by a cricket ball-sized tumour squeezing an artery above her heart.
Hayley has 573 Beads of Courage representing the number of procedures she has endured. She is one of this year’s Child Cancer Foundation Auckland ambassadors.
The 10-year-old says she thinks her dad is pretty cool for taking up the running challenge.
Mason admits he’s no seasoned runner. But he managed to complete the Auckland Marathon last year after just a few months of training and will do it all again this year. Queenstown’s Shotover Marathon will finish off his challenge.
He will need to run about 60km a week to reach his goal.
‘‘I’ve never done anything like this so I’m a bit nervous – but if it was easy I wouldn’t do it.
‘‘I don’t want to let anyone down,’’ he says.
The Child Cancer Foundation has been a great support for the whole family throughout Hayley’s treatment, he says.
‘‘They’ve always been there for us from the beginning – they don’t just consider the child going through treatment but siblings as well.
‘‘They don’t receive government funding so we just want to give back to them and say thank you.’’
At least three New Zealand children are diagnosed with cancer each week.
The foundation’s chief executive Robyn Kiddle says it aims to reduce the impact of cancer by offering services that ensure children and their families are supported, informed and well cared for at every stage of their journey.
‘‘At any one time we are assisting around 650 families across the country,’’ she says.
‘‘No two families’ cancer journeys are the same.
‘‘We work to build resilience in families and assist them in a practical way through the many logistical, financial, emotional and social challenges they may experience.’’
Tough road: Dave Mason is running 3000 kilometres in 365 days in recognition of his daughter Hayley’s bravery throughout cancer treatment.