Can’t Is Not In Melanie’s Vocabulary
Prince George, B.C. – A Prince George lady who was told by her doctor that she wouldn’t be running any marathons has decided to put the lie to that nonsense.
Melanie Hanson, a mother of three, has signed up to run the Reggae International Marathon in Jamaica this December 3rd as a member of Team Diabetes. Her desire to do so, and the fundraising effort to meet that goal, require a little background information and explanation. (Melanie, pictured right with son Ashton cheering her on, at the YMCA 10k Road Race)
Melanie says “last year I was faced with a pile of medical conditions, actually the past two years, and I was in the use of a wheelchair most of the time. I had some pretty serious health conditions, a diagnosis of a heart condition, and it was sort of a wake-up call I think.”
“And then I was diagnosed with type two diabetes and everything was sort of happening all at once and I knew I had to do something about it. At that time I couldn’t even walk maybe fifteen minutes at most and I’d asked my cardiologist in Vancouver, I said, can I run? I think he thought I was crazy. He said you can run, you just can’t run a marathon or anything and I thought, ya, just watch me.”
Melanie says she had been using a wheelchair for about two years, had been very ill and off work for two years. She says the wheelchair was more to conserve energy as she became very fatigued and winded going up and down stairs. “I had my mobility but it was very hard to move and the more I sat in the wheelchair the worse it became. I lost muscle mass and things like that.”
She got fed up with her predicament. “I’m young,” she says “I got diagnosed with this at 36 and I’ve just turned 39 last month. I’ve got three kids to chase and I thought, this isn’t the way I want to live out the rest of my life.”
“That was my motivation for starting to run and I did a walk/run program and I signed up for Storm the Hill here in Prince George. That was the first 5k that I had ever done and we didn’t even think I’d make it. My husband was scared, he’s like maybe we should bring the wheelchair and have somebody there. I said no, there’s first aid there and if I can’t do it I can’t do it but I’m gonna try. And we did it in about 50 minutes or something, it was a really long time,” she says chuckling.
Since then she has done more running, including her first 10k last April in the Vancouver Sun Run and then the local YMCA road race.
Melanie says she has an uncle who is very ill with diabetes and finding a cure is a matter that’s “very close to my heart, especially now that I have it myself.” Someone approached her about partnering up with Team Diabetes Canada, a Canadian Diabetes Association initiative that recruits runners to raise funds for diabetes by running in marathons around the world. “I looked at it and I said to my husband, what do you think? And he laughed at me and said I don’t know hun. And I said well, I’m going to do it. I committed to doing it and here I am.”
Each team member has to raise a minimum $6,100 for the Canadian Diabetes Association in order to participate with Team Diabetes. The first deadline of $2500 must be met by August 12th, the $4500 mark must be met by the end of September and the full $6100 has to be in by November.
Melanie has been pounding the pavement and using social media to raise funds and has collected just over $900 so far. She has a pub night fundraiser set for the Alpine Pub on July 28th with 75 tickets available at $30 each, which includes a full steak dinner and salad bar. And she and a few friends are brainstorming on other ideas.
Asked what people can do if they’d like to help out Melanie says “the financial is always great. They can make an online donation, which can be done at
http://teamdiabetes.ca/goto/runmelrun or they can write a cheque directly to the Canadian Diabetes Association, or we’re hoping that maybe we can get a corporate sponsor, like maybe there’s a business in town that would be interested in helping donate a large part of the money. And if not, even just offering services or in-kind donations. We’re doing the pub fundraiser so do0r prizes and raffles and for different events we’re going to be doing over the next couple of months to raise money.”
And one of the biggest things Melanie needs is volunteers. “I need help,” she chuckles. “So, if its an adult tricycle race or these kinds of things it always takes people to run these events and if it’s a fun family event or community event it’s nice to have people come out and have some fun and raise some money for charity at the same time.”
You can get more information about her fundraising efforts, including the pub night event, from Melanie Hanson at (250) 960-8664.