4 February 2019 is World Cancer Day, a day that unites people and communities all around the world to raise awareness of cancer and support those affected by it. 5K Your Way, Move Against Cancer is a new initiative aiming to do just this, at parkrun, on the last Saturday of every month. We hear from 5K Your Way founders Gemma and Lucy…
‘If exercise was a pill we would be prescribing it to everyone”. This may be a one-line cliché but there is truth behind the headline. Exercise has been proven to have enormous benefits for those living with and beyond cancer. It reduces cancer fatigue; helps to preserve fitness; reduces chemotherapy side effects; improves psychological well-being; may reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and prolong survival. And most importantly, in a group setting it’s social and fun. Yet despite the accumulating evidence, so much more could be done to promote the benefits of exercise.
We set up the Nottingham UK 5K Your Way, Move Against Cancer group in June 2018 hoping to create a community within the wonderful community that is parkrun. Our aims were simple. To encourage those living with and beyond cancer, families, friends and those working in cancer services to walk, jog, run, cheer or volunteer at a local 5K Your Way parkrun event on the last Saturday of every month. We wanted to become a support group with a difference; a run and walking group with a difference; a social opportunity with a difference.
“I’ve never been a runner but 5K Your Way is more about encouraging and helping each other than achieving fast times. The exercise and friendships are very uplifting and I am grateful for both.” Marie Langford
In short, an active coffee morning combining fresh air, movement and socialising. Over the last six months, the Nottingham group has grown. New members are welcomed whether walking, jogging, running or just coming for a coffee and a chat, friendships are cementing and a supportive community is being built. And the snowball has begun to roll, as people see the value in creating a 5K Your Way Move Against Cancer group in their local community. A strong collaboration with parkrun and support from the wonderful community of parkrun volunteers is facilitating this growth, demonstrating how two separate organisations can work so well together to produce positive change.
“After my stem cell transplant in May 2018, I felt shocking – weak, no energy, unable to do everyday things. However, the combination of the City Hospital Haematology Rehab programme, the NCFC CARE programme and walking the 5k Your Way events at parkrun have completely changed my life. I’m stronger, have energy and stamina, have a more positive outlook on my life and have made new friends of like mind who understand the ups and downs of having cancer. From my personal experience, I would really encourage anyone living with or beyond cancer to join us and have fun on the 5k Your Way on the last Saturday of every month”. Tony Judge.
In October last year Mary Twitchett started a group in her hometown of Cambridge, using her own experience of breast cancer treatment to inspire and support others. By February, there will be at least 12 groups, including the first three in Ireland at Shangannagh, Oranmore and Tralee parkrun. 5K Your Way, Move Against Cancer has legs that are taking it across the UK and Ireland faster than we ever anticipated.
“I was inspired by 5K Your Way to do my first parkrun. I am now running regularly, completed my first half marathon and feel tons better”. Poulam Patel, Professor of Oncology Nottingham University Hospitals
“Going along to the 5K Your Way events has been so beneficial to me since losing my mum to cancer, and seeing a friend receive chemotherapy last year. It has helped me feel comfortable around people that I know understand my feelings, as well as helping me feel healthier by running the 5K, which is a good fun challenge!” Will Rowland
“I enjoy the monthly 5K Your Way events as I find the experience inspiring. Meeting those that have gone or are going through cancer treatment, and seeing the determination from them is truly amazing. It is lovely meeting such a great group of people!” Boris Dimitrov, Pharmacist Nottingham University Hospitals
Gemma and Lucy
5K Your Way, Move Against Cancer founders.
To find out more about 5K Your Way, Move Against Cancer, please visit their website www.5kyourway.org
If you are interested in starting an event local to you please email 5k Your Way here
Or follow 5k Your Way on social media.
Facebook: 5k your way: move against cancer
Caroline Kennedy tells us about the integral part Templemore parkrun has played in her cancer recovery journey, and breaking that 35 minute barrier. On the last weekend in June 2017, I became very ill and was given a bowel cancer diagnosis just a few weeks later. The chemotherapy followed, culminating in me undergoing extensive surgery…
Name: Brighid Smyth Age: 54 Occupation: Head of Corporate Communication, Vhi Local parkrun: St Anne’s parkrun Number of parkruns completed: 83 in 16 locations How did you get involved in parkrun? I ran my first parkrun on the 28 September 2013. At the time I was training for the 2013 Dublin City Marathon…