Jeannette Liebig was a keen parkrunner, going every Saturday morning until she was diagnosed with breast cancer last summer. It was only in the following weeks and months that she recognised the significance the parkrun community had on her life.
Exercise has always been important to me. My husband, Alex, quit smoking years ago and started running, so I just went along at some point and found fun in it.
I had smoked in the past too, but stopped after my first half marathon. I always used to be behind Alex, but that’s not a bad thing at all!
We joined the local running club where I also met my running partner, Hans-Jürgen. It was also Hans-Jürgen who became aware of Neckarau parkrun in Mannheim through a newspaper article.
We came along once and have been regular participants ever since! It’s such a great community and I also visit Speyer Leinpfad parkrun and Oberwald parkrun in Karlsruhe every now and then.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I initially only told a few people in confidence. I thought, “Let’s see what comes first.”
It might sound strange, but the worst part for me at first was the fear of my hair falling out. When I eventually lost my hair due to cancer therapy, it became visible to everyone.
But what carried me through my time in chemotherapy was parkrunning, which in the meantime became parkwalking.
I didn’t want any pitying looks or to look into dismayed faces, but it turned out differently. I immediately felt accepted and the parkrun community was so positive, motivating and a great comfort. I felt supported by so many people and everyone took me as I am.
I tried to look ahead and kept walking as long as I could. Then, as my therapy progressed, I slowed down, but I was still at parkrun nearly every Saturday.
Slowing down more and more was hard for me at first, but I think it’s good that I kept my body moving despite the illness.
I got to talk to so many lovely, well-meaning people at parkrun and many have accompanied me along the way. My husband Alex and running partner Hans-Jürgen have really looked out for me and always encouraged me to go on.
Everyone at parkrun has contributed so much in my recovery and pushed me through the chemotherapy, thank you!
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