Where to start on this, my first post in the mighty Huffington Post?
Back in March of 2016 I was 40 years old, very overweight (7 stone to be precise as I've heard that sharing personal details makes my story speak to people) and totally inactive. Then the bombshell hit that my step-mum, Hilary, had been diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer.
Anyone affected by cancer, which I fear is most of us, knows it is a long suffering disease. Life is meant to carry on around the treatment and the effects are felt way beyond the patient. I live in Manchester and Hilary now lives in Devon. I felt helpless to do anything that mattered to show how she was in my prayers. So I decided to sign up to the Pretty Muddy Race for Life. My Grandfather-in-law had not long since passed away from cancer, so I joined with my cousins on a team to not only cover the 5km course, but relish getting coated in lavish amounts of mud whilst doing it.
Whilst training for the race, somewhere along the way I realised I quite enjoyed 'running'. The reason 'running' is in inverted commas is because I don't feel like a runner. I am slow and sweaty and it's never a pretty process from start to finish. So to cut a long story short, I did the Race for Life, but realised if I just did the race with nothing to aim for, my life would return rapidly to the inactivity of how it was. So I found Parkrun. Those of you who have never heard of Parkrun don't know what you're missing. My photo came from Parkrun. There was a giant social media response to it, culminating with me being on the radio, in the national press and then on regional tv.
I wanted to do something positive with the social media response to my story and photo, so decided to start a year of giving and transformation to show what can be achieved in a year. Working with Cancer Research UK (as the starting blocks of my story) and Alzheimer's Research UK as the partner of Parkrun UK (who have truly changed my life) I wanted to show the impact across a year that discovering your happy and pride in yourself can achieve. As a mum of two, wife, and with a full time job, I often felt I had lost who I was in place of my other roles, so to have found my happy, I want to share my story with as many people as I can.
My journey in 2017 will not be an easy one. I plan to cover 1000km (recently amended from 500km), but also continuing to run (and walk a bit) and trying to reduce the size of my butt.
You join my journey a few weeks in so if you want to read it from the beginning please catch up here https://2017dawnsyear.tumblr.com/
If 2017 is going to be your year too, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading