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Amie Richard­son has pre­cious rea­sons to keep mov­ing for­ward. UP TO LOUNGE•DIN­ING•BED­ROOM •OC­CA­SIONAL•OUT­DOOR•AND MORE!

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Be­fore my late hus­band Wayne died, he took an in­trepid jour­ney across the South Is­land on his or­ange GTS Su­per Sport 300 Vespa. Rid­ing tracks and dirt roads bet­ter suited for 4WD ve­hi­cles than Ital­ian scoot­ers, Wayne rode to raise aware­ness and money for blood can­cer re­search – and to have one last ad­ven­ture on the back of a bike.

That Tiny Wheels ride raised $15,000 for Leukaemia and Blood Can­cer NZ, and leav­ing a legacy (in the form of sev­eral sum­mer schol­ar­ships) for the count­less peo­ple who would be af­fected by blood can­cer in the fu­ture was a proud moment for Wayne.

Up north, just 18 months be­fore, Ruth Al­lan and her close friend Julie Col­low were plan­ning to run a half marathon in Welling­ton. The pair had been besties since they ended up in the same univer­sity col­lege, shared nu­mer­ous stu­dent flats – and nights out. Ruth, a keen run­ner, wife to Mark and mother to Har­ris, Lily and Franklin, had been re­cently di­ag­nosed with bowel can­cer.

In the end, Julie would run that first race alone be­cause her friend was too sick to make it, do­nat­ing the funds raised to Bowel Can­cer New Zealand. When Ruth died the fol­low­ing Fe­bru­ary (2014) – just days be­fore Wayne’s di­ag­no­sis – Julie started a group of “run­ners for Ruth” made up of friends and fam­ily mem­bers. Their next event is the Auck­land Marathon.

Can­cer is a word that has come up far too of­ten in my con­ver­sa­tions with friends and fam­ily over the past three years. It used to be a word I hardly knew, but now my fam­ily know far too much about white blood cell counts and chemo­ther­apy cy­cles than is com­fort­able. With this much ex­pe­ri­ence, I feel like I should be bet­ter at say­ing or do­ing things that help.

But for each new tar­get of this dreaded dis­ease, I am struck by the same fear, anger, sad­ness and over­whelm­ing sense of pow­er­less­ness that knocks me, ev­ery time.

But I’m alive. So this month I’ve joined the team and I’m run­ning for Ruth, a woman whose self­less­ness and gen­eros­ity in­spired her friends, chil­dren, hus­band, nieces, neph­ews and other fam­ily mem­bers to keep putting one foot in front of the other for the peo­ple who can’t. I’m run­ning for Bowel Can­cer New Zealand – an or­gan­i­sa­tion tasked with help­ing thou­sands of Ki­wis ev­ery year. (New Zealand has one of the high­est in­ci­dences of bowel can­cer in the world). I’m run­ning for my beau­ti­ful, lov­ing sib­lings, whose feet burn and bod­ies ache from the surg­eries and chem­i­cals de­signed to kill can­cer cells.

And I’m run­ning for Wayne – whose re­peated joke at my for­ward-lean­ing run­ning style be­came one of the last things he re­minded me to do: “Keep lean­ing for­ward”.

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