Saturday, 22 March 2014

Racing for a reason

It has been quiet on the blogging and twitter front as Beardy Guy and myself wrestled with the concept of events we had entered, an obligation to train, and our desire to actually live a less disciplined sporting life. While I am still heavily involved in Freedom from Torture, the fundraising activities needed to take a rest for the sake of my amazing donors if nothing else. I felt like an athlete without a cause. Swimathon was the first activity in my calendar and while I attacked swim sets and coaching with gusto there came a point where the whole thing felt a bit pointless. I felt like I had been here, and done this. Yes, while I was not gifted with sporting talent, I was endowed with ridiculous stubborness, so enter me in something and I will do it, even if I don't quite complete the training. So what was there to prove? 

Enter Jodi. 

Jodi is the wife of a primary school friend. Yes primary school, where I wore wrapround netball skirts and sneakers with ankle socks - all held together by velcro. Where you get picked on (a lot) and have a crush on boys with freckles that are shorter than you. I didn't keep in touch with many people from primary school because I moved out of the area, didn't go to the state high school and most of them turned into rednecks that call you names like towel head.  

I saw Jodi in the facebook photos of my school mate Dion. Smiling against Perth's sunny skies, in the warm embrace of family. What I didn't know was that that Jodi had MS. It knocked me for six to know that this bubbly family, full of domestic challenges (Dion often works in Perth's nearest city, ie in Indonesia) had this disease to deal with as well. 

MS is an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system. As a result, Jodi battles severe pain, fatigue, loss of balance, eye discomfort, hearing & vision loss, muscle spasms, depression and memory loss. The treatment she hopes will prolong her quality of life is not available in Australia and the family have made the decision to have the treatment in Russia. They are crowdfunding the cost of this as they can't bear it alone. At present, $98,000 stands between here and her recovery. 

There are people who crowd fund to make movies, there are people who sponsor a child they will never meet, people who put coins in collection boxes without thinking. There are people who put "pay it forward" memes on their facebook page. Now is the time to get a little closer to a cause, and help give a family back its mother and wife. 

I'm dedicating my sporting events this year to crowdfunding for Jodi. This will be a 5km pool swim, a 3.8k open water race, a middle distance triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 miles ride, 13.1 mile run) and a century ride (100 miles). In return I'd love you to come with me on the journey. I can't tell you how many people write to me and tell me they don't have money - and that's ok (though I urge you to consider that if we all donated a pint or glass of wine we could raise $1000s). But if you've made it this far down the page you are a person of tolerance, compassion and intelligence. Share some fundraising ideas with me: cake stalls, those parties where people come to your house and buy stuff, lamington drives (do they still have those in Australia!?), quiz nights. You may even feel inspired to organise one yourself... Or share this post and follow Jodi's news. Sign a petition for her treatment to be available in Australia. Learn more about the disease. Why? Why should you, why should this matter? It's an awful thing to consider, but if one day it came to my awareness that it was you needing help, I would swim, bike, run and fundraise for you. 

With love

Support Jodi at