This September, a Lugarno man has set himself the challenge to endure a 24-hour continuous ultra triathlon to raise money for childhood cancer research as part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
On Friday 6 September 2019, Mark Pacey will swim for three hours, he’ll then alternate between cycling and running for the next 21 hours.
He also plans to raise at least $14,000 with all proceeds going to The Kids’ Cancer Project, an independent national charity supporting childhood cancer research. Since 1993, the charity has committed more than $40 million to research projects to find better treatments and ultimately a cure for many different types of cancer.
The dad of two has aptly dubbed the event, “The Bloody Long Day”. But the moniker has another deeper meaning that comes from personal experience; his youngest son Cooper was diagnosed with cancer at just seven years of age on 9 September 2010.
“We, along with many other families, would spend day and night with our kids on the oncology ward at the hospital,” said Mark.
“While those days often felt like a bloody long day (and I said it often enough), it was never anywhere near what the children with cancer had to endure through their treatment,” he said.
Cooper is now a thriving 16-year-old and is completing Year 11 this year. But as a primary schooler he and his family faced what seemed an insurmountable challenge.
“For two years we lived within the hospital environment for weeks and months on end,” said Mark. “Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplants, blood tests… it went on and on. Then there was the waiting for results.”
“Throughout that time and ever since, I have felt compelled to do more. But the time needed to be right,” he said. “My hope is that this event will generate awareness about the endurance required to stick at something long enough to make a difference.”
“You can’t predict the future, but you can create it and a better future can be achieved,” said Mark.