Robert Lorenzo has battled a stress fracture and leukaemia diagnosis over the past three years, as well as going through the breakdown of his marriage. Robert explains how the friends he has made through volunteering at parkrun have helped him through these difficult times.
parkrun came into my life through a friend who walks at parkrun, and after the first event I was instantly hooked.
Within three months, a stress fracture sidelined me for eight weeks. That’s when I discovered volunteering. I put my name down for any role available during my recovery. I continued volunteering after returning to running and clocked up a streak of 28 weeks straight.
It was through volunteering at parkrun that I made some wonderful and lasting friendships. parkrun and running has helped me though some tough times over the years. Early in my journey, I separated from my wife which left me devastated and anxious. Without my running and my parkrun friends, this period would have been even tougher than it was.
A few months into the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, I was diagnosed with leukaemia which had me fighting for my life, facing almost 12 months of treatment and a further two years of maintenance drugs. At a time when the easy way to deal with my illness was to withdraw from society, parkrun was an important motivator. Walking and volunteering kept me focused on getting better. It also meant that I continued to be part of the parkrun community. I set myself little goals – run the hill without stopping, then run the 5km course without stopping. These days, I am aiming for a PCPB (post-cancer PB).
I recently joined the Volunteer 100 Club and I have also completed 180 parkruns. My favourite volunteer roles are Course Setup and the First Timers Welcome. I love welcoming newcomers and tourists.
parkrun helped me navigate tough times in my life and continues to make a significant contribution to my health and wellbeing, I want to share the magic with as many people as possible.
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