DKMS

‘You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the number of apples in a seed.’

This blog reproduces an interview in the January 2017 edition of The Methodist Newsletter with Anne Hailes.

Anne blogs regularly on life, media & NI culture here.

When I read Anne's piece before it went to press, it was a delightful surprise to discover that Anne actually knows the man whose support triggered this #TimPageFitForLife project.


 

 

“In summer 2013, we were planning a five-year survival bar-be-cue.  

Unfortunately, one month short of this cancer-free milestone, I was more seriously ill than ever before – tumours through my body, jaundiced, unable to sleep & hallucinating.  

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma was back with a vengeance.”

Tim acknowledges that we all face challenges yet he has had more than his share.  Despite this he is an example of a man who just keeps on being positive and depending on his faith and the doctors to get through.  He has been treated for aggressive blood cancer four times since September 1984, when, as a 20-year-old BT placement student, he had a routine chest X-ray.  

“Within hours, I was in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Five months of chemotherapy and a month of radiotherapy followed.  The treatment was severe, my dad was dying at the same time and, some days, I felt the bottom had fallen out of my world.”

On one of those days he had to escape the demons in his head and he turned to John Frost, his old headmaster at Sullivan Upper School in Holywood. 

“I landed at Mr. Frost’s front door and he immediately recognised a level of distress beyond words, I just broke down, I couldn’t say anything.  He and Mrs. Frost sat me down with a cup of tea.  I thought ‘my cup runneth over’ – a cup of tea goes a long way to help!  The Frosts showed me kindness and understanding.”

Tim was getting back into the swing of life when he was dealt another blow. Two years later he was told the cancer had returned and what should have been a red-letter day turned into anything but.   

“I’d just completed computing science at the Ulster Polytechnic as it was then.   On the same day I was told the cancer is back, the job offer I’d been promised was withdrawn because of my health problems.   The world fell apart.  The most helpful person was an atheist friend who said

"You've got to look at it this way, Tim.  As one door closes another one shuts!"

I actually derived lots of laughter at that.”  

But it wasn’t over.  May 2008 brought the shock news that a large lump in his neck was due to aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Blood cancer treatment had progressed dramatically which meant chemotherapy could be administered as an outpatient and it killed the cancer in 12 weeks.  

However, Tim, his wife Ruth and twin sons Downey and Chris, then 19 years of age, were to be tested again.  In summer 2013, the family were planning a five-year survival bar-be-cue, when one month short of this cancer-free milestone, Tim became more seriously ill than ever with tumours throughout his body, jaundiced, hallucinating and unable to sleep. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma was back with a vengeance.   

Family
The Page family

“I was close to death and there were groans beyond words going Heavenwards about myself and my family; there’s a comforting aspect as God can draw near and hear but there’s also the Psalmist’s spirituality of lament and Jesus saying ‘Let this cup pass from me’.  I think a big thing for me is to know that you can shout at God and cry and sometimes just whinge because we are His little children.”

It was their 'Year of Hell', in hospital for five months, with a 50/50 chance of survival, he was planning his 50th birthday party and funeral service at the same time.  

Thankfully, it was the birthday party that people ended up attending!

“Since then my motto is,

If there’s something in life to celebrate, then celebrate

because there’s enough difficult stuff going on.  A couple of months ago, I appreciated walking down the road and looking at one falling leaf as it fell to the ground.  As well as the challenges of work, paying the mortgage, there are moments of beauty all around.”   

As he regained fitness this special man turned to running.  He uses it to release stress, get fresh air, keep endorphins flowing, for company or solitude. 

“Sometimes I’m thinking about everyday life and pressures, other times it’s a time of internal reflection, zoning out at a spiritual level.  There’s a phrase that I love in the hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

'The Silence of Eternity'

Something of this can happen when I’m running or on a retreat, an experience that I don’t understand but one that I treasure. 

At work a couple of days ago, a Director asked me how I was, I think he was surprised with my answer.  I told him - I’m alive, I have a family and they are well, I’m mobile, I have a sane mind, I’m doing work that matters, I look back at the running project that succeeded so I’m grateful for every day.” Having been in hospital six months, seven pumps keeping him going, being in isolation and not being able to move out of bed it might be surprising that, in September three years later, walking into work to lead the stem cell Donor Drive with Ruth, he told God he had no complaints about his journey.  

“I am thankful to be alive today; you know, you can maybe understand life looking backwards but you have to live it looking forwards, in the moment we don’t see the big picture.  I did despair at times, not surprising when your blood count and your energy is low and the doctor says it’s 50/50 so you're writing your funeral service and you feel awful; then you realise despair is OK, it’s not the final word and it doesn’t apply to your whole life.  I thought about my sons and my wife, their concern and what would they do without me being there.  When you’re a young man in your early 20s it’s rough but probably you don’t have dependents, when you do have loved ones who are dependent then that’s a different level of concern.”

During these toughest of months, Tim says he gained an acute appreciation of the precariousness and preciousness of life.  He came to see profound significance in small acts of kindness, for example the offer of midnight tea, hot toast and a chat with one of the exceptional nursing assistants.  He also had a renewed appreciation of research and was determined to do something practical to help. He knows that prayer is important but the drugs and the treatments are just as essential, as he says God is present in all things including research.

Along with this renewed sense of positivity came a sense of responsibility to build his fitness. So, he now has a personal trainer and attends the gym every week and is training to be a coaching psychologist.

“Early last year I discovered parkrun where, every Saturday morning, in 24 public parks across NI, people come along to do a timed run.  I ran my first parkrun at Victoria Park last November, finishing in 162nd place out of 162!  I found myself overwhelmed by uncontainable emotion on achieving an objective that would have seemed unimaginable when I was ill.  82-year-old Gerry Ward was the sole remaining volunteer waiting for this straggler.  Looking back, I now see that his presence, encouragement and positive words were the key link in the chain that led to a seven month ‘#TimPageFitForLife’ running project.”

Gerry and Tim
Tim with Gerry Ward, Victoria parkrun Volunteer

Gerry Ward remembers that day too.  “We were just clearing up the finish area after the run and I became aware of this chap sitting and to all appearances crying. I toddled over to ask if he was ok thinking he might have fallen during the run but in the course of conversation I found out that the tears originated from his satisfaction of completing the run. He indicated that during his periods of therapy his main ambition, when fit enough, was to undertake the 5k run.  You talk about uncontainable – well, I certainly felt similar after my chat with him and to some extent felt a bit inferior.   I’m fortunate in so many ways to be an integral part of the core volunteer group of our Saturday run, made all the more special by people like Tim who inspires all around him.”

Within months the objectives of this project were in place.  To run all the Northern Ireland parkruns in aid of Lymphoma and Leukaemia NI at Queen’s University.  He has raised £15,253 for LLNI and signed up 197 prospective stem cell donors with charity DKMS.  He’s proud that lives will be saved in years ahead when someone receives a stem cell donation.  

 

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2016-12-23/9160afce-182b-4458-b77f-db27de357d19.png
BT colleagues at Tim's final run, 24-Sep-2016, 32 years to the day after he first went into hospital

Tim himself has increased his fitness getting through all the runs, bringing down his time from 40 minutes to under 35 minute and, he laughs, even when running in the rain the sense of achievement is great.

But it’s not only fundraising, spreading the word about blood cancer and treatment is vitally important to this brave man.  He has published six video interviews about blood cancer treatment, research and the important role of fitness in staying well: “And thank God I am fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been.” 

He’s surprised and thankful for the sheer goodwill of so many people in funding his project and giving their support.  Indeed, Tim is clear that ‘through the years, the support received along the journey from Ruth, family, friends, colleagues, professionals and so many others has helped get me through.’

“On the way back from Cookstown parkrun, I had a conversation with a friend David Quinney Mee.  His daughter, Lucia, had just been on Radio Ulster promoting organ donation. Lucia, age 17, has had three liver transplants, and great success at the UK Transplant Games.  David said to me:

‘You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the number of apples in a seed.’

In other words, in the great scheme of things, never discount the power of the small to inspire, to sustain and to give hope, whether it’s planting a tree, sharing five loaves and two fishes or encouraging someone struggling in their own race through your words, your support and your presence.”

More information at

www.timpagefitforlife.com
www.leukaemiaandlymphomani.org 


First published in Methodist Newsletter, January 2017 edition


A Good Day to Save a Life - DKMS Donor Drive

100 prospective stem cell donors.

From the start, this was a #TimPageFitForLife life-saving project objective.  We made solid progress in March, with 62 people registering as potential donors with DKMS UK via sign-up sessions, first, at the BT Belfast BFSEC Social Committee Bake Sale and, then second, at Victoria parkrun.

Donor registration sessions take some organisation and, although our intention was to arrange sessions at several other parkrun venues, a combination of injury, busy-ness and venue logistics meant we arrived in August still below that target at 62 people signed up.

Sometimes, I take a £10 web-flyer fare on the Enterprise train down to Dublin as a reflective away-day and, so it was, sitting on the Dun Laoghaire pier in the sun it hit me like a brick

“Organise a Donor Drive for the whole of BT Riverside Tower, all 12 floors”

Apparently, for every 20 people signed up, it is likely that, over the next 10 years, someone will be able to have a potentially life-saving transplant.  Ruth and I were hopeful we could sign up another 38 people to reach our target of 100, bringing hope to some people who would one day find themselves in medical dire straits.

Patrick Ryan of DKMS UK was again helpful and sent a full set of supplies for our third Donor Drive – posters, flyer leaflets, registration sheets and the essential cheek swab kits used to take tissue samples for tissue matching in the lab.

We set a date for Tue 13-Sep, booked the Customer Events area for the day and emailed everyone in Riverside Tower details of the event a few days in advance.

First step was to recruit 12 volunteers – BT people and also Patricia McAuley & Page McLaughlin.

DD-A-vol1

Volunteers receive half an hour’s training to become familiar with the registration process.  The day before the Drive, Ruth helped with the training, during which we took the opportunity to sign up several people for real to illustrate the process.

D-Day arrived.  We were well prepared, good-to-go, but had no idea of the level of interest or number of sign-ups we might achieve.

DD-A-vol2

When the registration process completes, people’s details go on a database and they receive a DKMS stem cell donor card.  Pauline Clark, who dropped by as we were starting, could proudly show her card from a previous Donor Drive.

DD-B-Aim

As ‘Front-of-House’ guy, I manned an Info Desk in Riverside Tower Reception, explaining what we were doing and inviting people to find out more.

DD-D-Invite

We ran from 10.00 – 15.00.  At times, our waiting area was needed when all of our eight sign-up stations were in use.

DD-E-Waiting

We had a steady stream of people registering through the day – completing the paperwork…

DD-F-paperwork

… and then doing the cheek swabs.

DD-G-swabs

When 3pm arrived, we had well-exceeded the 38 registration required to get to 100.

We were delighted that 135 people signed up on the day, many of whom were in the middle of busy work days, and took time out of their break to understand the process and sign up.

IMG_20160913_122348

Ruth and I would like to thank the Donor Drive volunteers, everyone who took time to find out more, everyone who signed up, the BT Riverside Reception & Security teams that helped with logistics and, especially, the DKMS UK team for their life-saving work.

Information on DKMS UK is here.

If you would like to donate to DKMS, their MyDonate site is here.  Each registration costs £40 – good value for money.


Stormont - 24 Sep - 22 of 22

So, the day arrived - 24th September 2016.

A-big-date

Driving to the 22nd of Northern Ireland's 22 current parkruns (several new venues are in the pipeline) it was great to have both of our sons along for the morning, the first time we'd all been together on a Saturday morning for some time.

B-family B-family-2There was a big turnout from BT, over 30 work colleagues, with 9 running their first parkrun.

B3

Through the week, rain was forecast for Saturday and, with parts of Northern Ireland experiencing stormy winds, I received several texts on Friday checking if all was ok to proceed.

On Friday night, Magda Bernatek, who I'd met at Stormont when we volunteered in March, messaged this motivating video - "Running in the Rain"

H-Run-In-The-Rain

"So is it just a run in the rain?  You tell me."

While there was some drizzle as we arrived at Stormont, I was clear that, Nope, this was not just a run in the rain but, rather, a culmination of multiple threads running over different timescales.

D-Culmination

First, and fundamentally, running Stormont represented the completion of my first objective:

"Run all 22 NI parkruns"

At Queens parkrun, I had met Linda Harley Gillespie, first woman to run all 22 NI parkruns.  That day, Linda showed me her hand-crafted #I'verunallthenornirnparkrunssoIhave T-shirt and promised to present me with my own at my final run.  True to her word, she did.  

Thanks to Linda for parkrunner insights, presence and encouragement along the way.

F-exemplar-Linda

Second, there has been a relational aspect to this project that I never foresaw.  

Ruth and I did not cross this project's finish line alone.  Rather, through the planning & travelling & running & occasional injury & breakfasts & stories shared, we crossed the finish line, and cut the celebration cake, connected with a wider network of people than when we started.

Patricia McAuley and Heather Chestnutt have supported from beginning to end - we appreciate their presence, humour and stickability.

E-stalwart-supporters

Third, getting to Stormont confirmed how far I've come in three years.  Laura Croan, whose interview on benefits of exercise for patients has had 2330 views to date, was one of the nursing team when I was ill in 2013.  In recent months, it's been great to work with Laura and others to promote awareness.  Three years ago, getting to this day would have been unimaginable and laughable.  But here we were.

(Links to all of the interviews are in this post containing the final interview, with Dr. Kyle Matchett)

G-different-world

Finally, 24 September 2016 was a milestone on a longer journey.  On 24 September 1984, I went into hospital with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  At that time, a great friend Roger Brown was studying medicine at Queen's University Belfast.  Roger 'showed up' for me and my family at that very difficult time - my dad was dying and I was ill.

Recently returned to Coleraine from Scotland he continues his GP work, and it's been great to reconnect.  As we walked up to the pre-run briefing, we swapped thoughts on years past and the run ahead.

H-Roger

Run Director Mel Boyle, giving the parkrun briefing, asked me to introduce #TimPageFitForLife.  Son Downey had asked me that morning "What are you going to say?"  I hadn't thought about it until then, but I was ready with a few (very few, as directed by Ruth!) words on my story and project progress.

I-a

I-what-will-you-say 

Soon, we were running, and what a great set of people I got to run with - family, friends, colleagues and specific guidance from both my Fitness Trainer of 18 months, EXSTO's Michael McAuley, and Parkrun Jim himself.

I had run the course earlier in the week with Sarah Williamson, taking about 38 minutes.  It was good to have already navigated the bends, and to know to be careful under the trees where the odd twig might just be waiting to trip you up.

J-running

I was mindful of my Personal Best to date of 35:10 (Derry), although experienced runners Sarah Williamson & Mark Crothers had separately advised me to enjoy the day... there would be many other days to focus on time performance.  

My time at Stormont was 35:14 and, for whatever reason (hills?, drizzle?, emotion? - maybe all of the above) I found the 2nd lap of the course tougher than expected.

K-water

L-finish

The encouragement from co-runners and cheers at the finish line were powerful stuff.  

And a big "Thank You" to the Stormont Hotel for kindly supplying tea and coffee on the day - much appreciated by runners and supporters.

  M-cake

  N-photocall

O-finish

I'd invited political representatives from across the spectrum to come along.  NI Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir ran and was then very encouraging during my last few hundred metres.  Active on social media, he tweeted a video at the finish.

Good friend David Robinson took some great photos of the day, strategically located at a choice spot with his high-tech camera.  I like this photo because it presents a backdrop wide enough to contain the different threads coming together in my head and heart, experiencing both personal challenge and stirring support at the same time.

P-Was-it-just-a-run-in-the-rain

One further reflection.  Over a year ago, I bumped into a nurse who had cared for me in (the long-since demolished) Ward 22 Haematology, Royal Victoria Hospital, during my mid-80's rough chemo days, before research sorted out effective anti-emetic drugs.  

She said:

"I remember you, Tim, in Ward 22 - there were 23 patients - everyone died, except you."

I have been pondering these words before, during and after my run at Stormont this 24th of September, 32 years of life later.

Yes, last Saturday was about more than "A run in the rain".

I suppose those things include

  • Completing a project doing its bit to fight a <insert expletive> horrible disease
  • Honouring people who have a habit of showing up for other people when the going gets tough
  • Celebrating life, ever mindful that we are given the awesome freedom to make the most of that gift

 

The Stormont photo album is here , or here on Facebook.

 

So - what's next?

  • Enjoy a late summer holiday - we're currently enjoying Vancouver, the best city in the world
  • Write a few more blog posts re September's LLNI #ImStill launch and our BT Riverside DKMS Donor Drive
  • Run two or three new NI parkruns before the project formally closes on 24-December
  • Continue regular parkrunning & volunteering
  • Run my first 10k
  • Start conditioning prep for my next running challenge

Thank you for your interest and support.

The donation site for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI remains open until 24-December 2016 - here.

Best thoughts,

Tim

 

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI: £13,760

Raised for DKMS (formerly Delete Blood Cancer): £650

People registered with DKMS as prospective donors: 197

People who have signed up with parkrun: 37

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%

16

6 Aug

MUSA Cookstown

39.48%

17

13 Aug

Colin Glen

35.93%

18

20 Aug

Falls

37.88%

19

27 Aug

Derry City

42.61%

20

3 Sep

Ecos

38.88%

21

10 Sep

Larne

34.04%

22

24 Sep

Stormont

42.53%


Larne - 10 Sep - 21 of 22

With only Stormont to go, Larne parkun may prove to be the day with the bluest sky - a glorious drive up from Holywood, and a great day for the first Larne 10k event.  I will aim to do this next year.

Larne-AB

Chris McGonagle gets the prize for furthest-travelled supporter.  Chris, formerly a BT colleague, has been encouraging me from Austin USA for months.  Back home in Banbridge for a few days, Chris drove to Larne to run his first parkrun.  I really appreciated Chris' presence - it was good to swap notes on running, IT, recovery from injury and resilience.  We were pleased to meet up with Phil McIlwrath and Rosy Ryan so soon after Rosy's Lagan10k run last week for Pancreatic Cancer UK.  And great to see regular co-runner Heather Chestnutt again.

Larne-D

Dom Dorris, Run Director, gave a warm welcome to everyone, introducing Larne as one of the tougher parkruns.  I like quotes, and, talking about the hills at Carnfunnock Park, something Dom said rang true:

"The hills are your friend."

 ~ Dom Dorris

For me, this relates to another philosopher's quote which can be true.  Sometimes.

Larne-G

The run was certainly tough, at 44:01 one of my slowest.  I put this down to the repeated circuits up the hills... however, after the race, Dom explained that the heat of the day is not necessarily the runner's friend, and I can see this is true.  Photos from the day show a lot of perspiration on a lot of people!  Great to have BT colleagues Mark Crothers, Michael Fulton, John Kelly and Laurence O'Hagan running alongside. 

Larne-P

And so, at last, I got to meet Gillian Craig, regular runner at Larne parkrun.  Gillian has an enviable PB of 31:27, and her story, including aspects of living with cerebral palsy, was recently on the parkrun weekly newsletter.  Thanks to Gillian for encouragement and support.

"Because of parkrun, and in particular the volunteers at Larne parkrun, I don’t just watch sport from the sidelines anymore. I take part. And I don’t just cheer. I get cheered on. From my family and from the bottom of my heart, I can’t thank the parkrun community enough for your support and encouragement."

~ Gillian Craig

Larne-V

Many Larne volunteers had to leave on time for the Larne 10k, but Ruth was still able to secure a very upbeat photo!

Larne-W

After tea and biscuits in the Sea Cadets' Hall, we drove up the hill to the Parklands Cafe for coffee with Rosy & Phil and David & Fiona Robinson.  On a day as good as this, this was a great place to enjoy the view.

Larne-Y

Larne photo album is here.

And now, one single parkrun remaining - Stormont on 24 September, the 32nd year to the day that, as BT Industrial Placement student, I went into Ward 22, Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital very ill with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Before then, it's a full week for #TimPageFitForLife:

Tuesday, in BT Riverside, there's a DKMS stem cell Donor Drive, hoping to reach our target of 100 prospective donors

On Friday, we attend the launch of LLNI's #ImStill campaign

And - keep an eye open for a series of six video interviews with people from the domains of medicine, fitness training and LLNI's research.

Come along to Stormont parkrunon the 24th if you can.

"The hills are your friend."

Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI: £11,846

Raised for DKMS (formerly Delete Blood Cancer): £600

People registered with DKMS as prospective donors: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 27

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%

16

6 Aug

MUSA Cookstown

39.48%

17

13 Aug

Colin Glen

35.93%

18

20 Aug

Falls

37.88%

19

27 Aug

Derry City

42.61%

20

3 Sep

Ecos

38.88%

21

10 Sep

Larne

34.04%


Derry City - 27 Aug - 19 of 22

We headed up to Derry on the Friday, staying in the friendly White Horse Hotel.  It was a beautiful evening, so before a good meal in Fitzroys we walked the course.

Derry-X5

On Saturday, we arrived at the busy starting point at 9, with time for some more photos as well as warm-up.

Derry-C

Run Director Gerard Harkin gave everyone a warm welcome, emphasising the need to give way to the (many) pedestrians, cyclists and other runners that were about.

Derry-D

Colleagues Riona and Nate from BT accompanied me, and was also good to see Riona's family and friends.

Derry-K

Before the run, I met Fidelma Hodgkinson.  Fidelma had an allogenic stem cell transplant in 2002 - her sister was donor.  It was helpful for Ruth and me to hear Fidelma say, 14 years post-transplant,

"I haven't looked back"

Swapping notes with someone who has journeyed further down the road can be an encouragement.

Derry City was a beautiful run.  At half-way, you run around a statue (which was wearing a parkrun jersey!) and head back the way you came.  Many runners on the return leg encouraged people still making their way to the half-way point.  One advantage of the Derry course is the clear visibility of the whole course - you know how much further you still have to go.  

Kerrie McIlmoyle, who I'd met at Run #8/22 at Limavady, was first woman finisher at Derry.  Kerrie came back to run the final straight with me.  With Kerrie's positivity, I went for a few final speed bursts.  So, thanks to Kerrie for helping me achieve a new PB, by 3 seconds!, of 35:10.

Afterwards, Fidelma could see I needed to recover and she gave me her water bottle. Seems a small gesture perhaps.  However, in the moment, it meant a lot.  You never know when a simple act of insightful kindness will 'land' powerfully with someone.

Derry-N

Before leaving we spoke again with Run Director Gerard.  Looking at the Peace Bridge and the shore across the River, he spoke of the variety of people who meet up at parkrun.  I left Derry mulling Gerard's words...

"We bridge lots of divides."

DerryT

Derry City photo album is here - photos from Saturday, and also some from the Friday evening.

Now, we're into the Final Three - Ecos (Ballymena), Larne and finally Stormont 24-September.

Best wishes,
Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI: £11,499

Raised for DKMS (formerly Delete Blood Cancer): £600

People registered with DKMS as prospective donors: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 25

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%

16

6 Aug

MUSA Cookstown

39.48%

17

13 Aug

Colin Glen

35.93%

18

20 Aug

Falls

37.88%

19

27 Aug

Derry City

42.61%


MUSA Cookstown - 6 August - 16 of 22

Beacons of Hope

A special day today at Cookstown, the 16th #TimPageFitForLife parkrun; Ruth and I encountered some very special people today.

Ailis Corey has faced treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  This included an 'allogenic' stem cell transplant.  In December 2013, I had an autologous transplant - my own stem cells - whereas allogenic is a tougher and riskier procedure, where you receive a donor's stem cells.

Happily, Ailis' sister Brenda was a match and the transplant has been a success.  So much of a success that Ailis has just returned from the British Transplant Games with a Silver in the 3k Walk and Bronze in the 10k Road Race Cycle.

Cookstown_G

Ailis, family and friends have travelled a tough road at times. Part of the battle was to campaign for funding within NI of the drug Brentuximab. More details are at Ailis' Support Fund Facebook page which includes a photo montage of Liverpool successes.

The word 'Inspiring' simply doesn't do justice to the resilience & spirit lived out by Ailis and family & friends.

An audio interview with Ailis by journalist Gillian McDade is here

Arriving at MUSA, we met Julie Kelly.  Tragically, Julie's sister Lynne died of cancer.  Julie and some running friends have established Seapark Charity Runners to support two charities - Macmillan and Brainwaves NI.    

Julie explained that, as well as running her way around all Northern Ireland parkruns, she has also just completed 10 x 10k runs.  It was good to swap notes with Julie about NI's parkruns - we were both impressed by the beauty of the Enniskillen course.  Again today, here was human resilience and an outward-looking generative response to aftermath of a horrible disease.

Cookstown_E

Julie and team's JustGiving page is here.

Run Director Irwin Spiers gave a very warm welcome today, inviting me to say a few words to the runners and volunteers.  Er, next time, I'll need to remember to click the mega-phone trigger button - but I'm learning and won't make that mistake again.

The regular physio and rehab exercises after recent injury are doing the job of keeping my running condition ok.  I'm grateful for the encouragement of colleagues John Purvis, Cathal O'Neill and Phil Lockett  - the BT posse - who ran with me today.  With Cathal timing, I got a 30 second walk-break every four minutes and still came in under 40 minutes... Good to be getting back on form.  

Cookstown_D

We're now into a #TimPageFitForLife pattern of asking parkrun Volunteers to join in a group photo before/after the race, to recognise the fact that 

"No volunteers... No parkrun!"

Cookstown_S

Thanks to the MUSA Cookstown team for the warm welcome today. 

We got in the car and headed home to Holywood, listening to Radio Ulster.  

On the same day that we met Ailis and heard about her success at the Transplant Games, serendipity struck.

We were delighted to hear Lucia Quinney Mee speaking.  The Quinney Mees are family friends and they, also, have faced a challenging road at times. Lucia, who has endured and come through three liver transplants, was also at the Transplant Games.  Lucia won seven medals!   

Lucia's interview is on BBC iPlayer until 3-Sep, here, and her 6 minute story is worth listening to.

Lucia has also recently created a blog, live-loudly-donate-proudly.org - I can recommend this excellent post.

Live-Loudly-Donate-Proudly

What a day... running performance regained, another friendly parkrun community, stories of resilience & support through adversity  and a timely reminder of the vital benefit of transplants - a spur to renew our #TimPageFitForLife effort to give people an opportunity to sign up as stem cell donors.

Thank you for support.

Today's album is here and next week I'll be at Colin Glen.

Best wishes,
Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma: £10,151

Raised for Delete Blood Cancer: £500

People registered with Delete Blood Cancer: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 25

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%

16

6 Aug

MUSA Cookstown

39.48%


Armagh - 30 July - 15 of 22

Well, what a week that was.

An exciting week in BT work, supporting the launch of BT Sport On EE:

Mid-week, I resumed running, thanks to benefits of an ongoing physio programme

Then, on Thursday, NI's Regulation & Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) Belfast Marathon runners and Office team handed over £621 to LLNI.

TimPageFitForLife-RQIA

#TimPageFitForLife exceeded double the £5000 target for LLNI donations, with £10028 raised to date for vital research, in the same week that LLNI's Joanne Badger handed me the recent NI Institute of Fundraising nomination. 

TimPageFitForLife-BWFVY

I completed the Armagh run yesterday, with great support from BT colleagues and friends.

Armagh is a particularly beautiful course - a mix of hilly parkland and woodland.

There was a sense of close local community amongst the runners - I guess the 'further out' parkruns, not close to many other runs, tend to have a more constant attendance.

Thanks to Run Director Mark Lundy for the warm welcome.

Armagh-D

It was great to have work colleagues Liz Leckey and Brenda Hilley along on their first parkrun.
I really appreciated BT colleague & runner Gavin McBride's pace-setting.  We alternated between 3 minutes running and 30 seconds walk.  Perhaps it was due to Gavin's guidance that I headed home with no muscle pain and hopeful for a straight run ahead through the remaining 7 venues.

Armagh photo album is here, thanks to Sarah Irwin for the amazing cake!

Armagh-Q

Next week, we're at Cookstown

Through August & September, as well as running and fund-raising, we'll be

  1. Working with DKMS to drive up the number of prospective stem cell donors, and,
  2. Producing video interviews about the role of fitness, medical care and research in preventing and treating blood cancers

As the final two months of our #TimPageFitForLife project start tomorrow... ideas, offers of support & publicity, donations and questions for the video interviews are all very welcome.

Best wishes,
Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma: £10,028

Raised for Delete Blood Cancer: £500

People registered with Delete Blood Cancer: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 23

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%


#TimPageFitForLife update - Schedule and DKMS

On Northern Ireland's unique 'Twelfth' Public Holiday... Hello!

With fourteen of twenty-two parkruns now done, a quick update:

The Ecos parkrun is postponed to 3-September to enable a rest weekend - the updated table is below.

Donations for LLNI are up to £9188, with the donation from RQIA's Belfast Marathon running team to be added soon.

We will run several more stem cell donation sessions to reach target of 100 prospective donors.  The organisation formerly know as Delete Blood Cancer UK is now named DKMS, so future blog updates will refer to DKMS.  Several supporters have given donations to DKMS, current donations £500.

Thank you for interest and support.

Tim

#TimPageFitForLife links... Facebook page,  Twitter, Donation site 

Schedule-v3

 


My Story for God's Glory - Carnalea Methodist Family Service 30-May-2016

Carnalea Methodist Church 29-May-2016 – Family Service

Perseverance – “Keep on keeping on”

Readings

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 

“My Story for God’s Glory” – Tim Page

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians about “running the race”, he was talking about the “Isthmian Games”.  From 582 BC to about 400 AD, these games happened every two years at Corinth, on the land bridge – or isthmus – in Greece where Corinth is located.   Events included chariot racing, wrestling, music & poetry – which women were allowed to compete in, and running.  The prize for each winner was a crown, of pine leaves or ivy, and massive prestige.

Entering the games was a big commitment – ten months training and then, maybe, you’d get selected to play.

At Sullivan school in Holywood, around 1980, I was the least sporty Sixth Former in my year.  Computers were just appearing in schools and I was abIe to dodge rugby, hockey and athletics by helpfully offering to support teachers learn about the computers arriving in their classrooms.  Looking back, this was a mistake since I stayed unfit.  I’ve done some sport on-and-off since.  However, after serious illness and a stem cell transplant in 2013, and months in a hospital bed, I deeply appreciated regaining the mobility and freedom that rehabilitation brought.  I now see that I have a responsibility to do what I can to stay well.  So I decided to do a 5k run, and achieved this goal at Victoria parkrun last November.  This personal breakthrough was such a positive experience that I then decided to run all of Northern Ireland’s 22 Saturday morning parkruns in support of two charities… 

  • Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI that does cellular-level research at Queen’s
    and also
  • Global charity DKMS, which signs up prospective stem cell donors, potentially a life-saving act

So far, we have promoted both charities, raised £8800, signed up 62 people as potential stem cell donors, and encouraged 10 people to run their first parkrun.

I have learnt some lessons about striving for a specific aim.   On this running project, I have to:

  1. Keep my aim in mind, organising my life around where I want to get to
  2. Train and strengthen my self – body and mind – to be able to succeed
  3. Be connected to a network of people for mutual encouragement and support

Reaching my goal of running 22 parkruns this year means saying ‘Yes’ to a few things and saying ‘No’ to lots of things.  As Gandalf says to Frodo,

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

I made another decision when I was 12 years old, choosing to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  And, I have a very, very long way to go.  Right now, in fact, my running life is better organised than my faith life!  What I can offer, though, is a question arising from our Corinthians reading that I’m currently asking myself –

“How can I live my life so that I’m not running aimlessly but, rather, walking through life with Jesus Christ, living in the world as He wants?”

Paul talks about competitors being in ‘strict training’.  As a regular runner, I have committed to a regime of conditioning training – to get fitter, stronger, leaner and faster while avoiding injury and improving my 5k PB – Personal Best.

Leading up to each week’s Saturday run, this involves two 1:1 training sessions with my personal trainer, two conditioning runs, and a somewhat painful sports massage to unknot my muscles.  If you’re curious – you can see some videos of this training on the TimPageFitForLife blog.  There’s a particularly entertaining clip where I use ‘Battle ropes’ to drag a heavy metal “Prowler” device around the gym.  Tough stuff.

If a pattern of behaviours is necessary to build physical condition, then there will be some areas we can work at in our faith life.  In our Carnalea Family Services, we try to offer something to everyone, whatever milestone you’re at as you run the race.  So, in a few minutes, we’ll sing a beautiful hymn, know to the older generations represented today, “May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day-to-day.”

First, though, as a computing enthusiast and electronically well-connected guy!, some practical ideas to young people starting the race – for your own pattern of personal training … your practice of spirituality through your life to keep fit for the race you’re on.

Using words from the hymn,

“May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day-to-day”
A phone app like PrayerMate can be helpful in organising people and topics to pray about

“May the Word of God dwell richly In my heart from hour to hour”
The Bible App is great.  It includes audio readings of The Message, and reading plans where you tick off each day.  Nicky and Pippa Gumbel’s 'Bible-In-One-Year' is a helpful resource.

“May the love of Jesus fill me As the waters fill the sea”
Of course, developing a lifelong spiritual practice is not merely about apps.

In 2008 Elizabeth Porter took me to a Service of Healing led by Rev David Jardine.  Each time I have gone to this service over the years, it has been helpful.  He spoke about how we respond to the poor, including the person that we see sitting on the street.  He said that to ignore people made in God’s image wasn’t good.  So, be open to the prompting of God’s Spirit about responding to poor people you come across throughout your life – a £1 coin, or a sandwich & drink from a shop, or a smile and ‘Hello’ are some options.

One other thing – Jesus built into his life times of getting away from the crowd to be still and listen to God.  Wherever you are on your race, consider planning in time to get away from the crowd, and away from the Internet, to 'Be still' and know that God is God.

So. As you work out your Spiritual Practice,

“May the love of Jesus fill you.”

Focus on your aim – following Jesus Christ – and organise your life around that aim

 

Finally, I have learnt the importance of the gift of encouragement in being able to persevere and keep running.

I wasn’t looking forward to Saturday’s run at Limavady.

I didn’t know anyone at Limavady.

Also, the Limavady parkrun website showed the slowest runner’s time as under 34 minutes, whereas I average in the high thirties.

Further, we were having some press coverage for World Blood Cancer Day.

And, while Ruth comes with me to all the parkruns as “Professional Supporter”, this week she had to pick up our son from the airport instead.

I set out alone and, overall, felt a bit exposed.

At every race I’ve had an experienced runner to set the pace – it was great to have BT colleague John Kelly running alongside me.   I tend to drop my head as I run, which restricts breathing but John kept encouraging me ... “Head up!”

Limavady is a beautiful course of 3 laps.  Finishing my second lap, most of the runners had already finished the race, and were getting ready to head to the nearby Leisure Centre for coffee.

One parkrun volunteer said “Do you mind if they run with you?”

“No problem – please do.”, I said.

Immediately, behind me, materialised a posse of experienced runners, encouraging with their good humour.

Heading up the final incline, my legs really wanted to stop.  I would have stopped for a few seconds, as in previous races, but the encouragement, energy, positivity, momentum and sheer human goodness behind me powered me on.  Without a break, I finished the course.

Limavady parkrun volunteers 28-May-2016

My phone battery died before the results were available, so I left Limavady not knowing my run time.  When I got home, Ruth met me at the door.  “Fastest run yet!” Ruth said – a new Personal Best of 35 minutes, 42 seconds.  I got a kiss!

The guidance and support of people around me, combined with my own focus and training, enabled that personal best.  I have learnt that encouragement can improve physiological and psychological performance.

As you run through this life, be mindful of the example of those who have run the race already.  And remain open to support offered from the people running alongside you.  Recently, Ruth and I thought of the influence on our lives of the late Reverend Cecil Newell, formerly here at Carnalea.  We fondly remember Cecil’s support and visits when I was ill in 2008 - his character, his teaching and example.  When life is otherwise discouraging, such a man’s witness helps us both think “yes, there is something to all of this”.  

I can nearly hear Cecil saying

“Head up!”

 To conclude.  

We get one go at this race. 

Focus on Jesus Christ – consider Him.  He is our Friend and Brother, alongside us for the race.

Work at your Spiritual Practice – your conditioning training for the race you’re on.

And, in following Him through your life, go after your Personal Best, supporting others along their way with words of encouragement, and showing up practically for people when you can.

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”

 

Hymn

May the mind of Christ, my Saviour,

Live in me from day to day,

By His love and power controlling

All I do and say.

 

May the Word of God dwell richly

In my heart from hour to hour,

So that all may see I triumph

Only through His power.

 

May the peace of God my Father

Rule my life in everything,

That I may be calm to comfort

Sick and sorrowing.

 

May the love of Jesus fill me

As the waters fill the sea;

Him exalting, self abasing,

This is victory.

 

May I run the race before me,

Strong and brave to face the foe,

Looking only unto Jesus

As I onward go.

 

Author: Kate B. Wilkinson