Health

‘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   On the same day I was told the cancer is back, the job offer I’d been promised was withdrawn because of my health problems.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


#TimPageFitForLife Interview III, Michael McAuley - Benefits of Physical Fitness

"We should be preparing our bodies for what life throws at you."

  ~ Mike McAuley

This third #TimPageFitForLife interview is with Michael McAuley.

Michael graduated from the University of Ulster in Sports Coaching.  A creative and effective entrepreneur, he is Owner of EXSTO Fitness & Fitness Trainer at EXSTO Gym.

Michael, Fitness Trainer to Ruth and myself for 18 months, talks about the 'massive' health benefits of fitness including the physical, mental, emotional and occupational aspects of our lives.

Michael sees one of his aims as to "try and just get people moving", citing the American Heart Association as one of thousands of resources available on the web.

 

Thank you to Michael for getting me moving.  After 18 months, I'm the strongest and fittest that I've ever been ... I can recommend him as a Fitness Trainer who can help prepare his clients for what life may throw at them.  Thanks also to Andy Magowan, cameraman for this interview, who's up next in our fourth interview.

If you would like to donate to LLNI, the BTmydonate site is here

In case you missed them, previous interviews were with

  • Dr. Mary Drake, Consultant Haematologist - Overview of Blood Cancers
  • Laura Croan, Clinical Nurse Specialist - Physical Fitness for Patients

Next week, a further three interviews will be posted:

  • Andy Magowan - Exsto Gym - Benefits of sports massage
  • Prof Ken Mills - LLNI - the importance of research
  • Dr. Kyle Matchett - LLNI - repurposing of drugs

 


#TimPageFitForLife Interview II, Laura Croan - Physical Fitness for Patients

The second #TimPageFitForLife interview is with Laura Croan, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Lymphoma, based in Belfast City Hospital.

Laura's post is funded by Friends of the Cancer Centre, doing great work - caring for patients, providing various resources for the Cancer Centre and also funding research.

I received help from 'Friends' in 2008 & 2013.  Also, in 1985, during a month of radiotherapy at Belvoir Park Hospital, I recall the kindness of the "Friends of Montgomery House" volunteers.  The charity changed its name in 2006 when services moved to the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

Here's a Belfast Live article on the occasion of Laura's appointment.

Laura speaks about the benefits of physical fitness for patients.  If the patient's condition permits, quality of life can be improved with potential benefits of increased muscle strength, energy, sleep & self-esteem - potentially resulting in less fatigue from both disease and treatment.

The academic papers that Laura mentions are listed here.

Thanks to Laura for providing these references and also for being camerawoman during the interview with Dr. Drake.  And thank you to David Speers, BT Apprentice, for being cameraman for this interview.

If you would like to donate to LLNI, the BTmydonate site is here

In case you missed it, the previous interview with Dr. Mary Drake, Consultant Haematologist is here

In the next interview, to be published on Friday, Michael McAuley, Owner of Exsto Fitness & Personal Trainer discusses the many benefits of fitness for life.

Next week, the remaining interviews will be posted:

  • Andy MaGowan - Exsto Gym - Benefits of sports massage
  • Prof Ken Mills - LLNI - the importance of research
  • Dr. Kyle Matchett - LLNI - repurposing of drugs

 


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%


Inspiring Rosy runs Lagan10k for Pancreatic Cancer UK

"My feet are light, my legs are strong, I can keep this pace all day long!"
~ Rosy Ryan

At Waterworks - the 2nd of my 22 parkruns for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI - I met Rosy Ryan.  Waterworks is a great open course. The day we were there, though, it rained a lot and I found it tough going.

Rosy ran with me that day and I deeply appreciated her encouraging mantra, even if I didn't have much spare breath to join in!

I spotted that Rosy was taking part in today's Laganside 10k organised by North Belfast Harriers; Ruth and I thought we'd go along to greet Rosy and Phil at the finish line.  Also with Rosy - Andrea Kearns from Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Rosy Phil

Rosy

As we waited, it was great to see lots of people from NI's running community who we've met over the past 6 months. Northern Ireland really does have a great running community. It was also good to catch up with Matt Shields and parkrun news.

Runners

Rosy kindly agreed to a brief video interview.

Thanks to Rosy for encouragement and, really, inspiration - those words from Waterworks have often been in my head over these months.  A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is a tough enough road.

Rosy's JustGiving page is here.  Rosy mentions Jog Belfast - link here.


Ecos - 4 Sep - 20 of 22

The forecast was 'heavy rain', so we headed to Ballymena as prepared as possible.  It seems the Ecos Centre is undergoing some renovation, but the surrounding parkland is absolutely worth a visit.

Ecos-V

Ecos has a friendly set of volunteers, with a well-organised setting up in progress as we arrived - signage, road cones, sheltered area for tea/coffee and ample biscuits.  Run Director Alastair Donaghy gave everyone a warm welcome, 

Ecos-B

Before the run, Peter Hamilton introduced himself - another runner who has already run Northern Ireland's 22 parkruns.  Peter had just run his 150th parkrun the previous week - congrats!  Ecos Ballymena is his favourite parkrun.

Ecos-A8

For Ecos, son Chris and fellow Corrymeela member David Mark ran with me.  It's another great parkrun course, organised as a two-loop figure-of-8.  The archway of trees at one stretch of the run was beautiful - sorry, didn't get a photo.

Ecos-P

Ruth has been able to come along to all of the parkruns, except Limavady.  As everyone heads into the distance, Ruth generally takes the opportunity to capture something of each course's scenery before the runners return - like this photo of a wild flowers garden.

Ecos-J

parkrun has various types of volunteer, including Guided Runners, who can run alongside people who are blind or visually impaired and their Guide Dog.  Before the run, we briefly met Torie Tennant and her Guide Dog.  Later, we finished the run close together.  Thanks to Torie for her encouragement and support.

Ecos-T

Before leaving we got to speak with Susanna and Matthew Allen.  After encountering parkrun for the first time, Susanna thought the whole experience - running and sense of community - was so good that she worked with people to set up Ecos parkrun over four years ago.   

Ecos-A9A

The Ecos sense of community was certainly alive and well on Saturday.  As Matthew said 

"The last person over the line gets as much support as the first person over the line."

And the running performance at Ecos was absolutely evidenced by the first person over the line.  Peter Avent, visiting from Edinburgh, smashed the Ecos record by 22 secs, down to 15:26.

Ecos-T1

Ecos photo album is here.

Two to go! ... Larne and, finally, Stormont 24-September.

Very best wishes,
Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI: £11,639

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%

20

3 Sep

Ecos

38.88%


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%


Citypark - 9 July - 14 of 22

The Citypark course - one lap around the Craigavon lakes - is very scenic.  Today's weather was less pleasant - the heaviest rain of the 14 parkruns to date - but that brings its own refreshing quality.

Citypark-B

Thanks to friends and colleagues who came along today - Patricia McAuley, Heather Chestnutt and BT colleagues Nick Orr & Sabina O'Hagan.  

My running mentor Mark Crothers said in January, when I decided to run 22 parkruns for LLNI, that this would be a significant challenge, given the sustained conditioning training as well as the parkruns.  By #14 of the 22 Saturdays, I realise that he was right.  Last week at Carrickfergus and this week at Citypark Craigavon have been tricky due to calf muscle and now upper back twinges. 

My objective, as last week, was to get around the course with zero damage.  Sarah Irwin, daughter of old friends Ivan & Joan Thompson, came along today and, as she said,

"Any run is better than no run."

In my Antrim run report two weeks ago, I mentioned a health query.  For some cancer survivors, the occasional medical scare is unsettling but familiar territory, and I've had a few over the years.  So, it was a relief this week when the hospital rang to say recent neck lymph node biopsy was clear.  Phew.

Early today on BBC Radio, there was an item about the 1984 Olympics Women's Marathon - the first time this event was held.  One runner was Gabriela Andersen-Schiess, her final six miles a major challenge, as this video shows.  

Today's run was difficult due to the leg issues so I was trailing.  Today's parkrun volunteer 'tail runners', bringing up the rear with me, were Joe McAnearney & Niall Rankin.  Niall and I spoke about the role of determination in pushing through life's challenges.

This afternoon, getting home after an uncomfortable but beneficial sports massage, I googled more on Gabriela Andersen-Schiess.  She finished the race in 44th place despite being in great physiological distress.  In an interview years later she said

"I got to the finish line.

Looking back, with time, I can see that people kinda identify with you, because they see the struggle, and they see that, if you really set your mind to it, you can overcome a lot of obstacles.

And it teaches you a lesson too that, besides overcoming obstacles, you have to get over some bad experiences, and not dwell on it and just look forward and learn something - hopefully learn something from it."

Every Saturday I see many people get to the parkrun finish line.  Further, I didn't realise when starting this project, that I'd meet a range of people from different backgrounds with stories of challenge, struggle, celebration and resilience.  Thanks again to parkrun and hundreds of volunteers each Saturday who enable this experience of promoting well-being, community spirit and mutual support.

This week's album is here.

Looking forward next week's run #15 (!) at Derry.

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma: £9168

Raised for Delete Blood Cancer: £500

People registered with Delete Blood Cancer: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 19

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%


Antrim - 25 June - 12 of 22

A scenic and happily hill-free parkrun at Antrim with family, friends and colleagues present. 

Thanks to the Bulls,

Antrim-A3
the McGlades

Antrim-A4

and BT's David Brady for their presence and support...

Antrim-A6

The parkrun community thrives due to its volunteering ethos, and Antrim's Volunteers, including Event Director Kathy Hood welcomed us all, especially the 40 or so graduates from a recent Run-Anon Aidan Couch-2-5k programme.

David Brady proved an effective co-runner on the course. I had emailed around BT's Belfast Software Engineering Centre and have been heartened by offers to run with me at future runs.  Many runners aim for their PB - personal best.  I offer a unique opportunity to experienced runners of achieving their PW - personal worst! - by running with me, and David gladly obliged.  

Aidan, pictured below, organises Couch-2-5k programmes in the area.  We have met at previous parkruns.  An effective & energetic coach, Aidan was roving to-and-fro encouraging people running their first 5k, and myself, thereby boosting psychological state & physical performance. Our world needs more of that.  

I was chuffed to receive my first piece of runners' bling - a "Run Anon" medal.

Antrim-D1

Antrim proved to be the day for runners' accessories.  Deirdre McKenney introduced herself as involved with Antrim parkrun.  Deirdre's employer Dow Chemical is merging with DuPont and, given that BT recently bought EE, we were able to swap notes on our experiences of integrating corporate organisations.  Deirdre opened up a bag and brought out ... a 2016 Olympic Torch!  So, an unexpected photo opportunity!

Antrim-E4

Antrim-E3a

Design details of this year's Olympic Torch are here ... an interesting read.

Finishing my 12th run felt significant this week.  After stem cell transplant on 24 December 2013, Friday represented the half-way mark to the five-year-free-of-cancer milestone.  On Thursday, with a couple of small lymph nodes persisting in my neck, I'd had a biopsy and the surgeon said I'd be ok to run. I'm feeling very well - stronger than ever - and such scares can happen occasionally for some cancer survivors.  So we're hoping for a renewed all-clear in a couple of weeks.

As former Sullivan School Head Teacher John Young wrote to me in September 1984 ...

"Fight hard. Keep going."

... one of my lifelong mantras.  

No PB at Antrim this week, then, due to gentle running after biopsy.

This week, especially, thank-you to Ruth, experienced co-runner David, Claire & Jamie, the McGlades, Patricia McCauley, torch-bearer Deirdre, fellow-runner Claire McDowell Williamson and Aidan for their strengthening support.  Presence and encouragement are very significant.

Looking forward to running Carrickfergus next week.

Antrim photo album is here.  Facebook's photo viewing experience is better, album here.

 

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma: £8960

Raised for Delete Blood Cancer: £500

People registered with Delete Blood Cancer: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 19

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Time

Position

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

36:22

177/209

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

37:05

222/237

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

42:10

386/390

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

40:22

140/155

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

38:10

162/167

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

39:18

136/145

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

37:56

94/103

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

35:42

32/37

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

39:03

181/265

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

37:37

183/191

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

35:13

328/352

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

37:39

198/216

39.80%