Mara Ledoux was just four years old when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2016. Her mum Melissa explains how the diagnosis led to their family becoming much more focussed on health and wellbeing.
We saw information posted on Facebook about Rush junior parkrun and we thought it would be a great activity on a Sunday morning to get out as a family. Since Mara was diagnosed with cancer we’ve become much more focused on our health and wellbeing. Encouraging the kids to start running from a young age has been very important to us to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Mara completed her first run eight weeks after getting the all clear from cancer, not an easy feat and even a bigger feat for mammy and daddy.
We’re early risers in our house (6am) so we haven’t been late for a junior parkrun yet, so by 9am we are out and ready to parkrun! Mara and her sister Keela really like running in the mud, so when its been raining the girls like getting as mucky as possible. They often add a few metres and minutes to their run by running off track through the mud!
Mara says she likes getting fit and running with her friends, and you can often see her having chats with her friends as she jogs along. Mara loves bracelets; she is still wearing her camping pass from last summer so she was dedicated to get her 11 junior parkrun wristband and now she wants the next one.
Family time has become a priority for us after Mara’s cancer diagnosis and so to have the opportunity to get the kids out and enjoy a morning together (especially when the sun comes out) is very important. Having the time together brings us closer together as a family and fitter!
The excitement of getting her parkrun Half Marathon wristband built up for a week, she didn’t stop saying it’s meant to be as her name is in the word Mara-thon. She was super delighted with her achievement, and we are super proud of Mara and especially as it coincided with her hospital visit confirming she continues to be in remission (18 months now).
In our family we believe that some of the keys to keeping physical activity fun for young people are positive encouragement (cheerleading!), getting out and getting active together and developing regular activities. We all want what’s best for our children, and we know encouraging them to exercise at a young age will carry into adulthood. It’s not rocket science that exercise is linked to better health. junior parkrun takes 30 minutes on your Sunday morning. Get up, get out, and get active!
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