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My grandson inspires me to help other children

Terry is one of three runners who are taking on the Paris Marathon this weekend in support of ChildFund Australia – we wish them all the best of luck!

My grandson Riley is happy and healthy and will have no issues reaching the age of five and older. We are lucky to have him in our lives and to watch him grow, happy and healthy.

Riley is the reason I am running the Paris Marathon and fundraising for children in East Timor. If I can help one child in East Timor achieve the same health and happiness Riley enjoys, anything I can do to assist makes it all worthwhile.

I first became involved with ChildFund when my daughter was pregnant with Riley – I decided to sponsor a little boy in Kenya. It was just a matter of being able to give back and help provide other children with the same opportunities Riley has.

More recently, I was sitting in a sales meeting up on the Sunshine Coast when I got an email through on the Blackberry from ChildFund, asking for people who may be interested in doing some fundraising and at the same time accept the challenge to run a marathon in Paris. I’ve never run a marathon but this just struck a chord with me. Within the space of two hours, I’d make the decision and been accepted. It was as simple as that.

Again, Riley was the catalyst. The project that I’m raising money for is for children in East Timor. Very simply, one in 10 children in East Timor don’t reach the age of five due to preventable diseases like diarrhoea and malaria. Riley’s going to reach the age of five without any issues whatsoever and he’s a happy little chappy. But when you see figures like that, it’s just heartbreaking.

So the $8,000 I’ll raise for ChildFund will go towards supporting local village health volunteers across 12 communities in East Timor to spread health messages and educate parents about healthcare issues, so that their children have a better chance of getting through the early stage of their life unscathed. It’s a simple but effective way of improving the health of children in these communities.

The fundraising has been challenging but rewarding. Initially I set up a fundraising webpage with Everyday Hero – so people have been making donations through that. And over the past few weeks, a very good friend of mine in Ballina organised a series of trivia nights – $5 per person, per night to come along. The prize was an audition for the Channel Nine program Millionaire Hot Seat, so one person had the chance to win a million dollars potentially. It’s been great. We’ve had different services, clubs, individuals and schools participate. We just had the final night at Ballina Golf Club and the winner will go to Melbourne to audition for the show.

My training is going well. There’s lot of different training programs out there, particularly on the web and in books. But more importantly I’ve listened to the body. High school was the last time I ran anything seriously, apart from a jog on the beach. That was a long time ago – I’m 55, 56 this year. I’ve simply progressed along the way, increasing the mileage on a weekly basis, cross-training, but certainly having rest days.

The longest run that I’ve done so far is 35km – I was tired at the end but it was fine. That was about six weeks ago and the fitness has improved since then. Someone said to me you don’t need to climb Mount Everest before you climb Mount Everest! So I’m keeping that in mind. I haven’t done the full 42km yet but I think with everything that’s going on during the race day – the euphoria, the crowd – that will get me across the line.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve taken it back a little bit, let everything rest and recover so I can be ready for the big day. I’m aiming for a time of about three-and-a-half hours. That’s what the mouth’s saying anyway – I’ll see if the body can follow!

ChildFund Australia has places available for the upcoming New York Marathon – register today and start fundraising for children in Papua New Guinea.

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